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Keywords:

  • rhesus monkey;
  • Macaca mulatta;
  • secondary sex ratio;
  • sex ratio adjustment;
  • Cayo Santiago;
  • Puerto Rico

Abstract

Secondary sex ratios (SSR) were calculated from 1,385 offspring delivered by 372 females in the Cayo Santiago population of free-ranging rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) from 1976 through 1984. The SSR for the entire colony ranged from 0.86 to 1.46 males per female (combined total: 1.08), but no significant difference was observed (P > .05). SSR values were compared among the troops for each year. The SSR differed significantly among the six social groups (P < .05) only in 1978. The annual SSR of each troop was compared over 9 years. Significant variation was found only in group O. The annual SSR was significantly skewed (P < .05, males > females) for three troops in 3 separate years. The SSR did not vary according to troop rank. No significant difference was found among the 17 matrilines of the population, but comparison of matrilines within each social group revealed a significant difference in the SSR (P < .02) for the three matrilines in group I. This was due to the significantly skewed SSR (P = .0080, females > males) of the DM genealogy in that troop. SSR values were not related to matrilineal rank. Individual dominance rank did not bias the SSR. Complete reproductive histories for 266 females showed no evidence of significantly skewed SSR values. Age-related effects on the SSR were examined by using cross-sectional and cohort-based analyses. The SSR did not vary significantly (P > .05) with maternal age, but it was significantly skewed (P < .05) toward males at the ages of 5 and 9 years. Parity had no significant effect (P > .05) on SSR values. Wide variation occurred in the SSR of the Cayo Santiago population. Rank-related adjustment of the SSR at the level of the troop, matriline, or individual, as reported in short-term studies of other primate social groups, may reflect normal annual variation in the SSR evident only from longitudinal observations of large multigroup primate populations.