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Keywords:

  • age at first conception;
  • growth parameter;
  • inbreeding depression;
  • Mandrillus sphinx;
  • maternal investment;
  • sex-differential response

Abstract

Inbreeding depression reflects the negative consequences of increased homozygosity at genes that affect fitness. We investigate inbreeding depression in a semi-free-ranging colony of mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx), using high-quality pedigree data, comprising five maternal generations and 20 years of morphological and demographic data. We examine the relationship between inbreeding coefficients and four fitness correlates: two growth parameters (mass and height for age) and longevity in both sexes, and age at first conception in females. Inbreeding was correlated with both growth parameters, but only in females, with inbred females being smaller than noninbred females. Inbreeding was also correlated significantly with age at first conception, with inbred females giving birth earlier in life than noninbred females. We suggest that sex-biased maternal investment may explain this sex-differential response to inbreeding, although the lack of a significant association between inbreeding and growth in males may also be due to the provisioned nature of the colony. The surprising relationship between age at first conception and inbreeding may be related to smaller adult size in inbred females, or to their being less able to escape from male sexual coercion.