, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 461-476

Determinants of male mating success in a large group of Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus) at Affenberg Salem

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Male mating activities in relation to the likelihood of ovulation and conception were studied in a large group of semifree-ranging Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus) during two successive mating seasons. In both mating seasons, adult males attained a significantly higher mating success than subadult males, and they monopolized high ranking females more effectively than low ranking females during the period when conception was most probable. Also, in both mating seasons male rank was significantly correlated with male mating success if all sexually mature males were included. Nevertheless, mating success was not a linear function of age or rank. In both mating seasons mating success of 5-year-old males was much higher than that of dominant but peripheralized 6- and 7-year-old males. Moreover, a significant correlation between rank and measures of mating success among adult males was found in the second but not in the first mating season. The results indicate that mating and, most probably, reproductive success of male Barbary macaques is dependent on the male's social position in the group, which is defined not only by the outcome of dyadic agonistic encounters but also by the ability to get a central position in the group, and on the stability of rank relations.