Abstract # 221:

Scheduled for Monday, September 21, 2009 01:45 PM-01:55 PM: Session 24 (Shell Room) Oral Presentation


A NEWLY-DESCRIBED BEHAVIOR IN RING-TAILED LEMURS (LEMUR CATTA), MALE POST-EJACULATORY MOUNTING: A FORM OF FEMALE-SOLICITED MATE GUARDING?

J. A. Parga
University of Toronto at Scarborough, Department of Social Sciences, Toronto, Ontario M1C 1A4, Canada
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Male mate guarding can involve male shadowing of a sexually receptive female as well as aggression against other male competitors. This study reveals a previously undocumented behavioral pattern in male lemurs that may function as an additional form of mate guarding: post-ejaculatory mounting. In this behavior, a male who has already copulated (and ejaculated) mounts again as if to re-mate, but does so without the penile intromission and thrusting characteristic of copulation in this species. Hence, these ‘post-ejaculatory mounts’ do not constitute new mating bouts. Data were collected across 8 mating seasons (2000-2008) in a free-ranging population of ring-tailed lemurs on St. Catherines Island, USA. Post-ejaculatory mounting occurred in 34 of 112 mating pairs. Thirteen different males performed post-ejaculatory mounting behavior, which in some cases involved multiple separate mounts and continued for several hours following ejaculation [range: 1 min-9.9 hrs; mean: 1.3±0.3 hrs]. In the majority of cases of post-ejaculatory mounting observed [28/34 or 82%], the male remounted the female in response to her continued sexual presents; a male showed post-ejaculatory mounting in only 6 of 21 cases in which continued female presents were lacking following ejaculation [Fisher's exact test, p<0.0023]. In conclusion, post-ejaculatory mounting by males may ultimately function as a form of mate guarding in this species. Interestingly, this behavior appears to be solicited by females.