Male morphological traits are heritable but do not predict reproductive success in a sexually-dimorphic primate

Clare M. Kimock, Constance Dubuc, Lauren J.N. Brent, James P. Higham

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Sexual selection favours traits that increase reproductive success via increased competitive ability, attractiveness, or both. Male rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) morphological traits are likely to reflect the effects of multiple sexual selection pressures. Here, we use a quantitative genetic approach to investigate the production and maintenance of variation in male rhesus macaque morphometric traits which may be subject to sexual selection. We collected measurements of body size, canine length, and fat, from 125 male and 21 female free-ranging rhesus macaques on Cayo Santiago. We also collected testis volumes from males. We used a genetic pedigree to calculate trait heritability, to investigate potential trait trade-offs, and to estimate selection gradients. We found that variation in most male morphometric traits was heritable, but found no evidence of trait trade-offs nor that traits predicted reproductive success. Our results suggest that male rhesus macaque morphometric traits are either not under selection, or are under mechanisms of sexual selection that we could not test (e.g. balancing selection). In species subject to complex interacting mechanisms of selection, measures of body size, weaponry, and testis volume may not increase reproductive success via easily-testable mechanisms such as linear directional selection.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article number19794
    JournalScientific reports
    Volume9
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General

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