SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Patas monkeys (Erythrocebus patas) have aquamarine-coloured scrota, but data are unavailable regarding the potential connection between changes in scrotal coloration and testicular function. In the rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta), seasonality of mating is accompanied by an intensification of red colour of the scrotum and a doubling of testicle size. A one-year study of male patas monkeys was undertaken in order to examine potential seasonal correlates of testicular function and scrotal colour. Increases in testosterone concentrations and testicular volume occurred during the mating season in adult males, but scrotal colour was fairly uniform throughout the year. Neither age, body weight, nor health influenced scrotal colour. These findings contradict the suggestion that the sex skin of seasonally breeding primates will become more intense during the mating season as a result of elevations in steroid hormone levels. Evidence from field studies in Africa suggest that the colour is part of a constellation of traits involved in male competition for mates.