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Female-Female Competition and Male Mate Choice in Barbary Macaques (Macaca Sylvanus)

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Due to a strong breeding synchronization, the Barbary macaque is a likely candidate for female competition for access to mates, female reproductive suppression, and male mate choice. The present study evaluated the significance of these factors for the mating system of this species. Female competition was analysed from focal observations of 19 out of 59 potentially reproductive females in their conception period. Ad libitum recorded sexual interactions of all animals were used for an analysis of male mate choice. The focal females were aggressive towards females once per 6.1 h and received aggression from females once per 3.8 h. However, they were three times more frequently the target of male aggression (once per 1.2 h), whereby the aggressor was often the momentary sexual partner. Rate of aggression received from males and females was not related with female rank. Females of all cycle stages disturbed sexual contacts, whereby the intruder was dominant to the target in most episodes (86 out of 100). Intruders more attractive than their targets were most successful in terminating the sexual association of their target, but success of intrusions was low and not related with female rank. The intruder copulated with the former partner of her target in only 5 intrusion episodes. Rate and date of conception and infant survival was not related with female rank, indicating that aggression against females during the conception period and intrusions into sexual contacts did not impair reproduction. Therefore, female

Affiliations: 1: Abteilung für Funktionelle Morphologie, Institut für Anatomie, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Postfach 102148, D-44780 Bochum, Germany; 2: Institut für Anthropologie, Universitat Göttingen, Germany


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