Abstract # 4346 Event # 100:

Scheduled for Friday, June 22, 2012 12:15 PM-12:30 PM: Session 14 (Magnolia) Oral Presentation


MALE BONOBO (PAN PANISCUS) RANK RELATED ASYMMETRY IN MATING DOES NOT SUPPORT THE PATERNITY CONFUSION HYPOTHESIS FOR LACK OF INFANTICIDE.

K. Boose and F. White
University of Oregon, Eugene , OR, USA
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     It is often assumed that lack of observation of infanticide in bonobos is the effect of paternity confusion resulting from extended female receptivity. This hypothesis assumes females mate with multiple males during the periovulatory period and that mating frequency is evenly distributed among males, resulting in decreased mate competition. We present captive data on male rank, mating frequency, and alternate strategies that address the question of mating skew in male bonobos. We found 75.97% of copulations (n=154) involved either the alpha male or the high-ranking son of the alpha female. Most mating dyads included a non-lactating adult or nulliparous female (65.58%; n=101) and male rank was highly correlated with mating frequency (p<0.01; r=0.76104). Females were most proceptive towards the alpha male (69.70%; n=46) and most receptive to the son of the alpha female (64.20%; n=43). One high-ranking male utilized aggressive mating strategies such as sexual coercion (n=5) and mate guarding (n=3), behaviors that have also been observed in the field. This male solicited the most copulations (n=43) and was involved in the greatest proportion of male-male conflicts (34.20%; n=40). Our data demonstrate that male mating success is dependent on individual male rank and/or male rank in the presence of coalition partners (i.e. mothers), is highly skewed between males, and does not support the hypothesis for paternity confusion as a causal factor for lack of infanticide.