, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 737-758

Female Copulation Calls in Guinea Baboons: Evidence for Postcopulatory Female Choice?

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We tested the hypothesis that primate female copulation calls are a form of postcopulatory female choice. We collected data on female sexual swellings, sexual and agonistic behavior, copulation calls and postcopulatory behavioral interactions in a multimale-multifemale captive group of Guinea baboons over a 3-mo period. Males copulated with only a few females, and females copulated with only 1 or 2 different males in the group, suggesting a harem-like mating system similar to that of hamadryas and gelada baboons. Female copulations were most likely to occur at peak sexual swellings and male copulatory success was accounted for by dominance rank and age. Variation in female tendencies to call after copulation is best explained by the copulatory success of the male with which each female copulated the most and by the number of copulating partners. The findings are consistent with predictions that calls are likely to be associated with copulation with preferred males and the risk of sperm competition. The prediction that copulation calls increased the probability of postcopulatory mate guarding is also supported. Taken together, the findings suggest that female copulation calls may play an important role in postcopulatory sexual selection and in particular in the expression of postcopulatory female choice in primate species in which females have little opportunity to choose their mates or female mate choice is costly or both.