Reproductive success in male savanna baboons

Summary

Different techniques have been utilized to ascertain male savanna baboon reproductive success based upon behavioral data. A 19 month field study of the reproductive behavior of savanna baboons in Kenya revealed a high degree of concordance among five different measures of male baboon reproductive success. The number of ejaculations showed the highest correlation with time spent in consort. Male reproductive success was not correlated with the number of females mated with because most males mated with most females. Female baboons regularly undergo multiple cycles prior to conception and the penultimate cycle showed no behavioral or physiological differences from the conception cycle. In nearly one-third of conception cycles a single consort partner was responsible for almost two-thirds of ejaculations during the four day optimal conception period. One may be able to reasonably infer paternity in these cases, but the available data are insufficient to support the idea that the variance in male baboon reproductive success is greater than the variance in female baboon reproductive success. The variance in male savanna baboon reproductive success will remain uncertain until genetic paternity studies are undertaken. It is suggested that mate selectivity, longevity, and stochastic factors are important components influencing male baboon reproductive success.

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Bercovitch, F.B. Reproductive success in male savanna baboons. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 21, 163–172 (1987). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00303206

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Keywords

  • Field Study
  • Reproductive Success
  • Behavioral Data
  • Reproductive Behavior
  • Physiological Difference