Abstract # 126:

Scheduled for Saturday, June 21, 2008 09:30 AM-09:40 AM: Session 13 (Meeting Room 2DEF) Oral Presentation

Instability in male dominance rankings in the ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) during mating contexts: Effects of female sexual behavior, male pre-breeding season rank, and male familiarity

J. A. Parga
University of Toronto at Scarborough, Department of Social Sciences, 1265 Military Trail, Toronto, ON M1C 1A4, Canada
     In Lemur catta, male dominance relationship changes can sometimes occur in mating contexts. This study investigated such changes among L. catta on St. Catherines Island (USA), and attempted to identify causal factors and correlates of male rank change. Data were collected across five breeding seasons between 2000-2004 using all-occurrences sampling for agonism and mating. Several variables were tested for their effects on male rank change, including female proceptivity/receptivity, and the age, pre-breeding season dominance rank, and familiarity of male combatants. In total, 53 male dyads showed dominance relationship changes. Male rank changes were preceded by female proceptivity or receptivity to the lower-ranking male of the dyad in 70% of cases, more often than would be expected by chance [Binomial Sign Test, a=0.05]. For rank-reversing males, ‘time to first agonistic win’ over a more dominant male following receipt of female proceptivity/receptivity (range: 14 sec-340 min) correlated with a male’s pre-breeding season rank, with lower-ranking males taking longer to achieve their first agonistic win [rS=0.40, n=36, p=0.017]. Greater variability in the outcome of successive agonistic interactions tended to occur between more unfamiliar males (those who had not spent the previous mating season in the same group), but this trend was not statistically significant. In conclusion, female sexual behavior, male pre-breeding season rank, and male familiarity were all factors which appeared to affect male L. catta dominance rank changes.