International Journal of Primatology

, 27:107

First online:

Male Mate Choice in Lemur catta

  • Joyce A. PargaAffiliated withDepartment of Anthropology, University of Texas at Austin Email author 

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Though females are generally more selective in mate choice, males may also derive reproductive benefits from exercising mate selectivity if one or more factors limit male reproductive success and females differ in reproductive potential. I used male mating effort as a proxy for male mate choice in ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta). I calculated mating effort as the rate of male-male agonism during each female's estrous period 30 min before and 30 min after the first and last mountings with intromission. I collected data on 1 free-ranging Lemur catta troop during 2 consecutive breeding seasons on St. Catherines Island, USA. In both yrs, male mating effort differed significantly among troop females once I adjusted male-male agonistic rates to reflect agonistic intensity, and I corrected for the number of observed mates per female (2000: χ2 = 27.43, df = 3, p < 0.0001; 2001: χ2 = 21.10, df = 3, p < 0.001). Results strongly suggest male mate choice. Contrary to expectation, males did not expend the greatest mating effort for females with the highest dominance status nor the highest reproductive success. Males preferred females that either: (1) belonged to the age class in which fecundity and infant survival is the highest at this site (4–9 yrs), or 2) were older females (≥10 yrs) with high reproductive success. Female reproductive potential appears to be an important variable determining male mating effort in Lemur catta.


age female reproductive success male-male mating aggression male mate choice sexual selection