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Distribution of Affiliative Behavior Across Kin Classes and Their Fitness Consequences in Mandrills



Marie J. E. Charpentier, CEFE-CNRS UMR 5175, 1919 Route de Mende, 34293 Montpellier Cedex 5, France. E-mail:


Multimale–multifemale primate groups are ideal models to study the impact of kinship on the evolution of sociality. Indeed, the frequent combination of female philopatry and male reproductive skew produces social systems where both maternal and paternal kin are co-resident. Several primates are known to bias their behavior toward both maternal and paternal kin. Moreover, allocation of affiliation toward paternal kin has been shown to depend on the availability in maternal kin: Female baboons invest more in paternal kin after the loss of preferred maternal kin. Here, we examined how affiliation co-varies across kin classes in juvenile mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx), an Old World primate living in a multimale–multifemale society. While affiliation levels observed with the mother and with maternal half-sibs co-varied positively, especially in young females, we found that levels of affiliation among paternal half-sibs correlated negatively with levels of affiliation among individuals from the same matriline (distant kin), possibly as a result of kin availability. In addition, in social species, social bonds between individuals have been linked to differentiated fitness consequences: More socially integrated individuals generally enjoy higher fitness. We therefore also tested whether affiliation during early life impacts fitness. We showed that the global amount of affiliation during juvenescence translated into possible reproductive benefits: Females who were more socially integrated gave birth on average a year before females that were less socially integrated. However, age at first reproduction was not predicted by the amount of affiliation exchanged with any particular kin class. These results add to the growing body of evidence demonstrating differential investment in bonding and possible social adjustments among different kin categories and emphasizing once more the adaptive value of sociality.