Male mating behaviour in relation to female sexual swellings, socio-sexual behaviour and hormonal changes in wild Barbary macaques.

Young, Christopher and Majolo, Bonaventura and Heistermann, Michael and Schülke, Oliver and Ostner, Julia (2013) Male mating behaviour in relation to female sexual swellings, socio-sexual behaviour and hormonal changes in wild Barbary macaques. Hormones and Behavior, 63 (1). pp. 32-39. ISSN 0018-506X

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Abstract

In many cercopithecine primates females display probabilistic cues of fertility to indicate the periovulatory
period to males. These cues may include female behaviour, acoustic signals, and morphological signs such
as the anogenital swelling. However, the extent to which males can utilise this information varies between
species. We describe male sexual behaviour in relation to changes in anogenital swelling size, timing of ovulation
and female socio-sexual behaviour in wild Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus). We further compare
male sexual behaviour during conception and post-conception cycles to evaluate if males differentiate between
these qualitatively different cycle types. Our results show that during conception cycles male mating
behaviour was concentrated around the fertile phase implying that males inferred information from more
than swelling size alone. Male mating frequency increased in line with female socio-sexual behaviour,
namely female presenting and the frequency of copulations with copulation calls. Most strikingly our results
show that males invested equally in mating during fertile and non-fertile, i.e. post-conception, maximum
swelling phases. Whether post-conception swellings were merely a result of changes in hormone concentrations
during pregnancy or part of a female reproductive strategy remains elusive. In sum, this study adds to
the body of research on the evolution of female sexual signals and how males may infer information from
these cues.

Keywords:Animal behaviour, Barbary macaque, Macaca sylvanus, Post-conception mating, Male reproductive strategies, Sexual swellings, Progestogens, Paternity confusion
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:10649
Deposited On:03 Jul 2013 14:35

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