Breaking the succession rule: the costs and benefits of an alpha-status take-over by an immigrant rhesus macaque on Cayo Santiago

Breaking the succession rule: the costs and benefits of an alpha-status take-over by an immigrant... Explaining intraspecific variation in reproductive tactics hinges on measuring associated costs and benefits. Yet, this is difficult if alternative (purportedly less optimal) tactics remain unobserved. We describe a rare alpha-position take-over by an immigrant male rhesus macaque in a population where males typically gain rank via succession. Unusually, male aggressiveness after the take-over correlated with rank and mating success. The new alpha achieved the highest mating and reproductive success. Nevertheless, he sired only 4 infants due to high extra-group paternity (59.3%). The costs of his immigration tactic were high: after the mating season ended, unable to deter coalitionary attacks by resident males, he was overthrown. The following year he had the highest relative annual weight loss and levels of immune activation among males in the group. Succession-based rank-acquisition in large, provisioned groups of macaques thus appears to be actively maintained by resident males, who impose high costs on challengers. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Behaviour Brill

Breaking the succession rule: the costs and benefits of an alpha-status take-over by an immigrant rhesus macaque on Cayo Santiago

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
Copyright © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
Subject
Regular articles
ISSN
0005-7959
eISSN
1568-539X
DOI
10.1163/1568539X-00003344
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Explaining intraspecific variation in reproductive tactics hinges on measuring associated costs and benefits. Yet, this is difficult if alternative (purportedly less optimal) tactics remain unobserved. We describe a rare alpha-position take-over by an immigrant male rhesus macaque in a population where males typically gain rank via succession. Unusually, male aggressiveness after the take-over correlated with rank and mating success. The new alpha achieved the highest mating and reproductive success. Nevertheless, he sired only 4 infants due to high extra-group paternity (59.3%). The costs of his immigration tactic were high: after the mating season ended, unable to deter coalitionary attacks by resident males, he was overthrown. The following year he had the highest relative annual weight loss and levels of immune activation among males in the group. Succession-based rank-acquisition in large, provisioned groups of macaques thus appears to be actively maintained by resident males, who impose high costs on challengers.

Journal

BehaviourBrill

Published: Jan 18, 2016

Keywords: alpha take-over; reproductive tactics; immigration; weight loss; dominance order; mating systems; Elo-ratings; neopterin

References

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