Studying shape in sexual signals

The case of primate sexual swellings

Elise Huchard, Julio A. Benavides, Joanna M. Setchell, Marie J.E. Charpentier, Alexandra Alvergne, Andrew J. King, Leslie A. Knapp, Guy Cowlishaw, Michel Raymond

Resultado de la investigación: Article

13 Citas (Scopus)

Resumen

Despite extensive research on animal signals, their shape has been largely overlooked compared to other components such as size or colour. This may represent a substantial gap in our understanding of animal communication, since shape perception is believed to influence various processes in behavioural ecology, from prey-predator interactions to mate recognition. The technical challenge of measuring shape may explain this bias. This study introduces a morphometric method for the analysis of shape in animal signals and applies it to the study of patterns of shape variation in a classical sexual signal: the sexual swellings of female primates. Using elliptic Fourier descriptors (EFDs), we derived quantitative estimates of the two-dimensional shapes of sexual swellings in two primate populations: wild chacma baboons (Papio ursinus) from Namibia and captive mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx) from Gabon. Despite intra-specific variability, the two species exhibited consistently different swelling shapes. Within species, our analysis further showed more variation in swelling shape between females than across consecutive oestrous cycles of the same female. Using human judges, we confirmed that individual shape differences were visually detectable within both species. Finally, the relationships between individual traits and swelling shape were investigated, revealing age-associated variation in swelling shape in both species. Our study illustrates the high potentialities of EFDs to analyse patterns of shape variation at various scales: not only between species but also between and within individuals.

Idioma originalEnglish
Páginas (desde-hasta)1231-1242
Número de páginas12
PublicaciónBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Volumen63
N.º8
DOI
EstadoPublished - 1 jun 2009

Huella dactilar

primate
swelling
Primates
Papio ursinus
animal
mate recognition
Gabon
predator-prey interaction
behavioral ecology
Namibia
predator-prey relationships
wild population
estrous cycle
animal communication
animals
communication
ecology
color

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology

Citar esto

Huchard, E., Benavides, J. A., Setchell, J. M., Charpentier, M. J. E., Alvergne, A., King, A. J., ... Raymond, M. (2009). Studying shape in sexual signals: The case of primate sexual swellings. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 63(8), 1231-1242. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00265-009-0748-z
Huchard, Elise ; Benavides, Julio A. ; Setchell, Joanna M. ; Charpentier, Marie J.E. ; Alvergne, Alexandra ; King, Andrew J. ; Knapp, Leslie A. ; Cowlishaw, Guy ; Raymond, Michel. / Studying shape in sexual signals : The case of primate sexual swellings. En: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 2009 ; Vol. 63, N.º 8. pp. 1231-1242.
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Huchard, E, Benavides, JA, Setchell, JM, Charpentier, MJE, Alvergne, A, King, AJ, Knapp, LA, Cowlishaw, G & Raymond, M 2009, 'Studying shape in sexual signals: The case of primate sexual swellings', Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, vol. 63, n.º 8, pp. 1231-1242. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00265-009-0748-z

Studying shape in sexual signals : The case of primate sexual swellings. / Huchard, Elise; Benavides, Julio A.; Setchell, Joanna M.; Charpentier, Marie J.E.; Alvergne, Alexandra; King, Andrew J.; Knapp, Leslie A.; Cowlishaw, Guy; Raymond, Michel.

En: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, Vol. 63, N.º 8, 01.06.2009, p. 1231-1242.

Resultado de la investigación: Article

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T1 - Studying shape in sexual signals

T2 - The case of primate sexual swellings

AU - Huchard, Elise

AU - Benavides, Julio A.

AU - Setchell, Joanna M.

AU - Charpentier, Marie J.E.

AU - Alvergne, Alexandra

AU - King, Andrew J.

AU - Knapp, Leslie A.

AU - Cowlishaw, Guy

AU - Raymond, Michel

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N2 - Despite extensive research on animal signals, their shape has been largely overlooked compared to other components such as size or colour. This may represent a substantial gap in our understanding of animal communication, since shape perception is believed to influence various processes in behavioural ecology, from prey-predator interactions to mate recognition. The technical challenge of measuring shape may explain this bias. This study introduces a morphometric method for the analysis of shape in animal signals and applies it to the study of patterns of shape variation in a classical sexual signal: the sexual swellings of female primates. Using elliptic Fourier descriptors (EFDs), we derived quantitative estimates of the two-dimensional shapes of sexual swellings in two primate populations: wild chacma baboons (Papio ursinus) from Namibia and captive mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx) from Gabon. Despite intra-specific variability, the two species exhibited consistently different swelling shapes. Within species, our analysis further showed more variation in swelling shape between females than across consecutive oestrous cycles of the same female. Using human judges, we confirmed that individual shape differences were visually detectable within both species. Finally, the relationships between individual traits and swelling shape were investigated, revealing age-associated variation in swelling shape in both species. Our study illustrates the high potentialities of EFDs to analyse patterns of shape variation at various scales: not only between species but also between and within individuals.

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