Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 70, Issue 4, pp 459–466

The dark side of the red ape: male-mediated lethal female competition in Bornean orangutans

Authors

    • Anthropological Institute and MuseumUniversity of Zurich
  • Julia A. Kunz
    • Anthropological Institute and MuseumUniversity of Zurich
  • Sonja Falkner
    • Anthropological Institute and MuseumUniversity of Zurich
  • Sri Suci Utami Atmoko
    • Universitas Nasional Jakarta
  • Shauhin E. Alavi
    • Department of AnthropologyRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
  • Alysse M. Moldawer
    • Department of AnthropologyRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
  • Erin R. Vogel
    • Department of AnthropologyRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
  • Caroline Schuppli
    • Anthropological Institute and MuseumUniversity of Zurich
  • Carel P. van Schaik
    • Anthropological Institute and MuseumUniversity of Zurich
  • Maria A. van Noordwijk
    • Anthropological Institute and MuseumUniversity of Zurich
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00265-015-2053-3

Cite this article as:
Marzec, A.M., Kunz, J.A., Falkner, S. et al. Behav Ecol Sociobiol (2016) 70: 459. doi:10.1007/s00265-015-2053-3

Abstract

Female Bornean orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii) are mainly solitary and philopatric, leading to adult female relatives sharing adjacent and overlapping home ranges. Females tend to be intolerant of unrelated females, with whom they also may have overlapping home ranges. However, fights that lead to injuries are extremely rare and lethal aggression had never been observed. Here, we report the first case of lethal female-female aggression during over 26,000 h of focal data collected on adult females at Tuanan, Central Kalimantan: A young female, who had recently lost her infant, attacked an old resident female. The interaction’s unique feature was that the attacking female was supported by an unflanged male, who had been in consort with her during the week preceding the attack and was responsible for the lethal injuries to the victim. The victim received protection from a flanged male who was probably attracted to the noise generated by the fight. We conclude that even in a species in which coercion is frequently observed in male-female interactions, female leverage over males can coax males into providing services, such as coalitionary support.

Keywords

OrangutanLethal aggressionCoalitionary attackFemale-female competitionMale support

Supplementary material

265_2015_2053_MOESM1_ESM.docx (36 kb)
ESM 1(DOCX 35 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016