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Assessment of female reproductive status by male longtailed macaques, Macaca fascicularis, under natural conditions

Engelhardt, A, Pfeifer, J-B, Heistermann, M, Niemitz, C, van Hooff, JARAM and Hodges, JK (2004) Assessment of female reproductive status by male longtailed macaques, Macaca fascicularis, under natural conditions. Animal Behaviour, 67 (5). pp. 915-924. ISSN 0003-3472

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Recent theories on primate sexual selection have paid increasing attention to the importance of reproductive strategies of females living in multimale groups. However, the extent to which females are able effectively to conceal or advertise the time of ovulation as part of these strategies remains unclear. Few studies have investigated the ability of males to discern female reproductive status under natural conditions, and none has taken into account differences in male rank, and thus ability to gain access to females or cues. We tested male assessment of a female's fertile phase under natural conditions in longtailed macaques. We used timing of mate guarding by dominant males and the response of subordinate males towards the repeated playback of a female copulation call to measure male interest in females throughout the ovarian cycle. Relating the degree of male interest to female reproductive status, as determined noninvasively by faecal hormone analysis, we found that interest in females shown by both dominant and subordinate males was strongest during and around the fertile phase. Our results also indicate that males were better able to recognize the fertile period in conception than in nonconception cycles. Furthermore, our finding of a strong positive relation between male interest and female oestrogen levels in all cycles indicates that at least some of the cues used by males to assess female reproductive status are oestrogen related.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 06 Biological Sciences, 07 Agricultural And Veterinary Sciences, 17 Psychology And Cognitive Sciences
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Natural Sciences & Psychology (closed 31 Aug 19)
Publisher: Elsevier
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2016 12:12
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2022 09:02
DOI or ID number: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2003.09.006
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/3209
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