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Social correlates of testosterone and ornamentation in male mandrills.

Setchell, J. M. and Smith, T. E. and Wickings, E. J. and Knapp, L. A. (2008) 'Social correlates of testosterone and ornamentation in male mandrills.', Hormones and behavior., 54 (3). pp. 365-372.


We investigated relationships between fecal androgen concentrations, facial coloration and behaviour in semi-free-ranging male mandrills. We found that fecal androgen levels were significantly positively related to dominance rank, independent of rank stability and the mating period, suggesting that male mandrills live in a permanently aggressive context in which they must actively maintain their dominance status. Facial red coloration was also significantly related to both fecal androgen levels and rank, with high ranking males having both higher androgen levels and redder faces, although dominant males did not always have the highest androgen levels or the reddest faces. Predictive relationships between androgen levels, coloration and rank were short-term. Androgen concentrations and facial redness both increased in the presence of receptive females, as did the former during periods of rank instability. We conclude that male facial redness is likely to represent an honest signal (to other males) of current androgen status, competitive ability and willingness to engage in fight and that females may also use this to assess male condition. Further, our findings provide support for the "challenge hypothesis" as originally proposed for birds by Wingfield.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Dynamic trait, Signals, Challenge hypothesis, Mandrillus sphinx, Coloration, Condition dependent traits.
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Hormones and Behavior. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Joanna M. Setchell, Tessa Smith, E. Jean Wickings, Leslie A. Knapp (2008) 'Social correlates of testosterone and ornamentation in male mandrills.', Hormones and behavior., 54 (3). pp. 365-372,
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:17 April 2014
Date of first online publication:August 2008
Date first made open access:No date available

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