Color signals play an important role in intraspecific communication and are well studied in catarrhine primates, which exhibit uniform trichromatic vision that is well suited to detecting such signals. Platyrrhine primates exhibit polymorphic color vision with different individuals possessing different color vision types in most species. Intriguingly, some platyrrhine species exhibit bare faces, which are convergent with those of catarrhines. However, putative functions of bare-faced color signals in platyrrhines remain largely unexplored. We measured facial skin color of five captive golden lion tamarins (Leontopithecus rosalia) using color-calibrated digital photography and modeled these colors to the visual systems of the species. Our results show that facial coloration is different between infant and older adults and varies across reproductive condition, but not between breeding and nonbreeding adults. While preliminary, our study suggests that facial coloration may be involved in sociosexual signaling in golden lion tamarins, and provides intriguing evidence that we hope might stimulate more studies of bare-faced signaling in platyrrhines.
- color cues
- sociosexual communication
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Animal Science and Zoology