We scored pelage coloration of pigs and peccaries and matched them to socioecological variables to assess the relative strengths of protective coloration and signaling in driving coat coloration. Using phylogenetically controlled analyses, we found that faces, bellies, and perhaps flanks are lighter in larger species; ear coloration is lighter in less-shady environments and in more-social species; white facial spots are associated with less shade and with nighttime activity; and white body spots are associated with greater sociality. There is a marginal association between striped natal coats, a classically cryptic pelage, and litter size. These findings indicate that the body coloration of Suiformes has been selected to match overall background lighting conditions in both adults and neonates, but that specific areas and color patches on the body are associated with signaling. Our study suggests that small areas of contrasting pelage coloration are superimposed on classically cryptic body plans to allow both protective coloration and signaling to operate simultaneously.
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Vol. 99 • No. 5