Male dominance and reproductive success in wild white-faced capuchins (Cebus capucinus) at Lomas Barbudal, Costa Rica

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Abstract

Theory and a growing body of empirical evidence suggest that higher ranking males experience reproductive advantages in group-living mammals. White-faced capuchins (Cebus capucinus) exhibit an interesting social system for investigating the relationship between dominance and reproductive success (RS) because they live in multimale multifemale social groups, in which the alpha males can have extraordinarily long tenures (i.e. they coreside with daughters of reproductive age). Genetic paternity was determined from fecal samples for 120 infants born into three social groups of wild C. capucinus at Lomas Barbudal Biological Reserve, Costa Rica. Alpha males produced far more offspring than expected by chance, and significantly high Nonac's B indices (a measure of deviation from a random distribution of RS among potentially breeding individuals) were a feature of six out of eight male tenures. The likelihood of the alpha male siring a particular offspring was predicted by the kin relationship between the mother and the alpha male, as well as the total number of males and females in the group. The almost complete lack of father–daughter inbreeding [Muniz et al., 2006] constitutes an impediment to alpha male reproductive monopolization in this population, particularly toward the end of long alpha male tenures. Am. J. Primatol. 72:1118–1130, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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