Dispersal patterns in black howler monkeys (Alouatta pigra): Integrating multiyear demographic and molecular data

Sarie Van Belle, Anthony Di Fiore

Producción científica: Contribución a una revistaArtículorevisión exhaustiva


Dispersal is a fundamental process in the functioning of animal societies as it regulates the degree to which closely related individuals are spatially concentrated. A species’ dispersal pattern can be complex as it emerges from individuals’ decisions shaped by the cost–benefit tradeoffs associated with either remaining in the natal group or dispersing. Given the potential complexity, combining long-term demographic information with molecular data can provide important insights into dispersal patterns of a species. Based on a 15-year study that integrates multiyear demographic data on six groups with longitudinal and cross-sectional genetic sampling of 20 groups (N = 169 individuals, N = 21 polymorphic microsatellite loci), we describe the various dispersal strategies of male and female black howler monkeys (Alouatta pigra) inhabiting Palenque National Park, Mexico. Genetically confirmed dispersal events (N = 21 of 59 males; N = 6 of 65 females) together with spatial autocorrelation analyses revealed that the dispersal pattern of black howlers is bisexual with strong sex-biases in both dispersal rate (males disperse more often than females) and dispersal distance (females disperse farther than males). Observational and genetic data confirm that both males and females can successfully immigrate into established groups, as well as form new groups with other dispersing individuals. Additionally, both males and females may disperse singly, as well as in pairs, and both may also disperse secondarily. Overall, our findings suggest multiple dispersal trajectories for black howler males and females, and longer multiyear studies are needed to unravel which demographic, ecological and social factors underlie individuals’ decisions about whether to disperse and which dispersal options to take.

Idioma originalInglés
Páginas (desde-hasta)391-406
Número de páginas16
PublicaciónMolecular Ecology
EstadoPublicada - ene. 2022


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