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Do Dispersing Monkeys Follow Kin? Evidence from Gray-cheeked Mangabeys (Lophocebus albigena)

By Rebecca L. Chancellor, Jessica Satkoski, Debbie George, William Olupot, Nathanael Lichti, David G. Smith and Peter M. Waser


Among social vertebrates, immigrants may incur a substantial fitness cost when they attempt to join a new group. Dispersers could reduce that cost, or increase their probability of mating via coalition formation, by immigrating into groups containing first- or second-degree relatives. We here examine whether dispersing males tend to move into groups containing fathers or brothers in gray-cheeked mangabeys (Lophocebus albigena) in Kibale National Park, Uganda. We sampled blood from 21 subadult and adult male mangabeys in 7 social groups and genotyped them at 17 microsatellite loci. Twelve genotyped males dispersed to groups containing other genotyped adult males during the study; in only 1 case did the group contain a probable male relative. Contrary to the prediction that dispersing males would follow kin, relatively few adult male dyads were likely first- or second-degree relatives; opportunities for kin-biased dispersal by mangabeys appear to be rare. During 4 yr of observation, adult brothers shared a group only once, and for only 6 wk. Mean relatedness among adult males sharing a group was lower than that among males in different groups. Randomization tests indicate that closely related males share groups no more often than expected by chance, although these tests had limited power. We suggest that the demographic conditions that allow kin-biased dispersal to evolve do not occur in mangabeys, may be unusual among primates, and are worth further attention

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