Color vision pigment frequencies in wild tamarins (Saguinus spp.)


Surridge AK, Buchanan-Smith HM, Suarez SS, Smith AC & Mundy N (2005) Color vision pigment frequencies in wild tamarins (Saguinus spp.). American Journal of Primatology, 67 (4), pp. 463-470.

The adaptive importance of polymorphic color vision found in many New World and some prosimian primates has been discussed for many years. Polymorphism is probably maintained in part through a heterozygote advantage for trichromatic females, as such individuals are observed to have greater foraging success when selecting ripe fruits against a background of forest leaves. However, recent work also suggests there are some situations in which dichromatic individuals may have an advantage, and that variation in color vision among individuals possessing different alleles may also be significant. Alleles that confer a selective advantage to individuals are expected to occur at a higher frequency in populations than those that do not. Therefore, analyzing the frequencies of color vision alleles in wild populations can add to our understanding of the selective advantages of some color vision phenotypes over others. With this aim, we used molecular techniques to determine the frequencies of color vision alleles in 12 wild tamarin groups representing three species of the genus Saguinus. Our results show that allele frequencies are not equal, possibly reflecting different selective regimes operating on different color vision phenotypes.

balancing selection; color vision; photopigment; polymorphism; tamarin

American Journal of Primatology: Volume 67, Issue 4

Publication date31/12/2005
Publication date online07/12/2005