, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 221–236 | Cite as

Individual copulatory preference and the “strange female effect” in a captive group-living male chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes)

  • Mel Allen


The common chimpanzee has been considered to be a promiscuous species, although transient consort relationships and male possessive behavior have been described byTutin (1975, 1979).

A prolific adult male chimpanzee was housed with from four to seven adult female chimpanzees (depending on the females' maternal status) and copulations were recorded from August 7, 1978 until February 16, 1979, during morning feeding periods. Ten females composed the fluctuating available partners.

Sixty-four observed copulations involved six females. One female was clearly preferred, including occasions when she was not maximally tumescent (e.g., completely detumescent, pregnant) and other available females were maximally tumescent. The remainder of the observed copulations, with one exception, involved females who had recently been reintroduced into the one-male breeding group. Such copulations took place on and continued temporarily after the day of reintroduction for two females, and after the resumption of menstrual cycling for two females who had been reintroduced while still lactating. Nonpreferred females were impregnated during the period of data collection, even though copulations with them were not observed.

These data suggest that the male chimpanzee can form an individual mating preference regardless of the hormonal status of his available partners without lessening his reproductive success with nonpreferred females, but also tends toward maximization of his reproductive success by copulating with novel females.


Lactate Reproductive Success Hormonal Status Mating Preference Individual Mating 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Agar, M. E. &G. Mitchell, 1975. Behavior of free-ranging rhesus macaques: a review. In:The Rhesus Monkey, Vol. 1,G. H. Bourne (ed.), Academic Press, New York, pp. 323–342.Google Scholar
  2. Allen, M. L. & W. B. Lemmon, in press. Orgasm in female primates.Amer. J. Primatol.Google Scholar
  3. Ball, J., 1941. Effect of progesterone on sexual excitability in the female monkey.Psychol. Bull., 38: 533–534.Google Scholar
  4. Beach, F. A., 1976a. Hormonal control of sex-related behavior. In:Human Sexuality in Four Perspectives,F. A. Beach (ed.), Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, Baltimore, pp. 247–267.Google Scholar
  5. ————, 1976b. Sexual attractivity, proceptivity and receptivity in female mammals.Horm. Behav., 7: 105–138.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Coe, C. L., A. C. Connolly, H. C. Kraemer &S. Levine, 1979. Reproductive development and behavior of captive female chimpanzees.Primates, 20: 571–582.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dixson, A. F., B. J. Everitt, J. Herbert, S. M. Rugman &D. M. Scruton, 1973. Hormonal and other determinants of sexual attractiveness and receptivity in rhesus and talapoin monkeys.Proc. Symp. 4th Int. Cong. Primatol. Vol. 2,E. W. Menzel (ed.), S. Karger, Basel, pp. 36–63.Google Scholar
  8. Eaton, G. G. &J. A. Resko, 1974. Ovarian hormones and sexual behavior inMacaca nemestrina.J. Comp. Physiol. Psychol., 86: 919–925.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Enomoto, T., 1974. The sexual behavior of Japanese monkeys.J. Human Evol., 3: 351–372.Google Scholar
  10. ————, 1978. On social preference in sexual behavior in Japanese monkeys (Macaca fuscata).J. Human Evol., 7: 283–293.Google Scholar
  11. Everitt, B. J. &J. Herbert, 1969. The role of ovarian hormones in the sexual behavior of rhesus monkeys.Anim. Behav., 17: 738–746.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Ford, C. S. &F. A. Beach, 1951.Patterns of Sexual Behavior. Harper & Row, New York.Google Scholar
  13. Fox, C. A. &B. Fox, 1971. A comparative study of coital physiology, with special reference to the sexual climax.J. Reprod. Fertil., 24: 319–336.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Goldfoot, D. A., 1971. Hormonal and social determinants of sexual behavior in pigtail monkeys (Macaca nemestrina). In:Normal and Abnormal Development of Brain and Behavior,G. B. A. Stoelinga &J. J. van der Werff ten Bosch (eds.), Leiden Univ. Press, Leiden, pp. 325–341.Google Scholar
  15. Goodall, J., 1965. Chimpanzees of the Gombe Stream. In:Primate Behavior,I. DeVore (ed.), Holt, Rinehart & Winston, New York, pp. 425–473.Google Scholar
  16. Graham, C. E., 1970. Reproductive physiology of the chimpanzee. In:The Chimpanzee, Vol. 3,G. H. Bourne (ed.), S. Karger, Basel, pp. 183–220.Google Scholar
  17. ————, 1973. Chimpanzee endometrium and sexual swelling during menstrual cycle or hormone administration.Folia Primatol., 19: 458–468.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. ————, 1976. The chimpanzee: a unique model for human reproduction. In:The Laboratory Animal in the Study of Reproduction,Th. Antikalzides,I. Ericksen &A. Spiegel (eds.), Gustv, Fischer Verlag, New York, pp. 29–38.Google Scholar
  19. ————,D. C. Collins, H. Robinson &J. R. K. Preedy, 1972. Urinary levels of estrogens and pregnanediol and plasma levels of progesterone during the menstrual cycle of the chimpanzee: relationship to the sexual swelling.Endocrinology, 91: 13–24.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Hausfater, G., 1975.Dominance and Reproduction in Baboons (Papio cynocephalus). Contributions to Primatology, Vol. 7, S. Karger, Basel.Google Scholar
  21. Hays, W. L., 1973.Statistics for the Social Sciences. Holt, Rinehart & Winston, New York.Google Scholar
  22. Herbert, J., 1968. Sexual preference in the rhesus monkeyMacaca mulatta in the laboratory.Anim. Behav., 16: 120–128.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. ————, 1978. Neurohormonal integration of sexual behaviour in female primates. In:Biological Determinants of Sexual Behaviour,J. B. Hutchison (ed.), John Wiley & Sons, New York, pp. 467–491.Google Scholar
  24. Hess, J. P., 1973. Some observations on the sexual behavior of captive lowland gorillas,Gorilla g. gorilla (Savage andWyman). In:Comparative Ecology and Behaviour of Primates,R. P. Michael &J. H. Crook (eds.), Academic Press, New York, pp. 508–581.Google Scholar
  25. Hobson, W., F. Coulson, C. Faiman, J. S. D. Winter, &F. Reyes, 1976. Reproductive endocrinology of the female chimpanzee: a suitable model for humans.J. Toxicol. Environ. Health, 1: 657–668.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Kinsey, A. C., W. B. Pomeroy, C. E. Martin &P. H. Gebhard, 1953.Sexual Behavior in the Human Female. W. B. Saunders, Philadelphia.Google Scholar
  27. Kortlandt, A., 1962. Chimpanzees in the wild.Sci. Amer., 206: 128–138.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Kummer, H., 1971.Primate Societies: Group Techniques of Ecological Adaptation. Aldine, New York.Google Scholar
  29. Lancaster, J. B., 1979. Sex and gender in evolutionary perspective. In:Human Sexuality,H. A. Katchadourian (ed.), Univ. of California Press, Berkeley, pp. 51–80.Google Scholar
  30. Lawick-Goodall, J. van, 1975. The behaviour of the chimpanzee. In:Hominization and Verhalten,I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt (ed.), Gustav, Fischer Verlag, New York, pp. 56–100.Google Scholar
  31. Lemmon, W. B. &M. L. Allen, 1978. Continual sexual receptivity in the female chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes).Folia Primatol., 30: 80–88.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. McGinnis, P. R., 1973. Patterns of sexual behavior in a community of free-living chimpanzees. Ph. D. Thesis, Univ. of Cambridge, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  33. Michael, R. P., 1968. Gonadal hormones and the control of primate behavior. In:Endocrinology and Human Behavior,R. P. Michael (ed.), Oxford Univ. Press., New York, pp. 69–93.Google Scholar
  34. ————,E. B. Keverne &R. W. Bonsall, 1971. Pheromones: isolation of male sex attractants from a female primate.Science, 172: 964–966.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. ————,D. Zumpe, E. B. Keverne &R. W. Bonsall, 1972. Neuroendocrine factors in the control of primate behavior.Rec. Prog. Horm. Res., 28: 665–706.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Money, J., 1961. Sex hormones and other variables in human eroticism. In:Sex and Internal Secretions, Vol. 2,W. C. Young (ed.), Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, pp. 1383–1400.Google Scholar
  37. ————,J. G. Hampson &J. L. Hampson, 1957. Imprinting and the establishment of gender role.A. M. A. Arch. Neurol. Psychiat., 77: 333–336.Google Scholar
  38. Nishida, T., 1968. The social group of wild chimpanzees in the Mahali Mountains.Primates, 9: 167–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. ————, 1979. The structure of chimpanzees of the Mahali Mountains. In:The Great Apes. Perspectives on Human Evolution, Vol. 5,D. A. Hamburg &E. R. McCown (eds.), Benjamin & Cummings, Menlo Park, California, pp. 73–121.Google Scholar
  40. Perachio, A. A., M. Alexander &L. D. Marr, 1973. Hormonal and social factors affecting evoked sexual behavior in rhesus monkeys.Amer. J. Phys. Anthropol., 38: 227–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Phoenix, C. H., 1973. Ejaculation by male rhesus as a function of the female partner.Horm. Behav., 4: 365–370.Google Scholar
  42. Pusey, A., 1979. Inter-community transfer of chimpanzees in the Gombe National Park. In:The Great Apes. Perspectives on Human Evolution, Vol. 5,D. A. Hamburg &E. R. McCown (eds.), Benjamin & Cummings, Menlo Park, California, pp. 465–479.Google Scholar
  43. Rowell, T. E., 1963. Behaviour and female reproductive cycles of rhesus macaques.J. Reprod. Fertil., 6: 193–203.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Saayman, G. S., 1970. The menstrual cycle and sexual behavior in a troop of free-ranging chacma baboons (Papio ursinus).Folia Primatol., 12: 81–110.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. ————, 1972. Effects of ovarian hormones upon the sexual skin and mounting behavior in the free-ranging chacma baboon (Papio ursinus).Folia Primatol., 17: 297–303.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Slob, A. K., M. J. Baum &P. E. Schenck, 1978. Effects of the menstrual cycle, social grouping, and exogenous progesterone on the heterosexual interaction in laboratory housed stumptail macaques (Macaca arctoides).Physiol. Behav., 21: 915–921.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. ————,S. J. Wiegand, R. W. Goy &J. A. Robinson, 1978. Heterosexual interactions in laboratory-housed stumptail macaques (Macaca arctoides): observations during the menstrual cycle and after ovariectomy.Horm. Behav., 10: 193–211.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Stephenson, G. R., 1975. Social structure of mating activity in Japanese macaques.Proc. Symp. 5th Congr. Int. Primatol. Soc.,S. Kondo,M. Kawai,A. Ehara &A. Ehara &S. Kawamura (eds.), Japanese Science Press, Tokyo, pp. 63–115.Google Scholar
  49. Tutin, C. E. G., 1975. Exceptions to promiscuity in a feral chimpanzee community. In:Contemporary Primatology,S. Kondo,M. Kawai &A. Ehara (eds.), S. Karger, Basel, pp. 445–449.Google Scholar
  50. ————. 1979. Mating patterns and reproductive strategies in a community of wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii).Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol., 6: 29–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. ----, &P. R. McGinnis, in press. Reproduction of the chimpanzee in the wild. In:Reproductive Biology of the Great Apes,C. E. Graham (ed.), Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  52. Wickler, W., 1967. Socio-sexual signals and their intraspecific imitation among primates. In:Primate Ethology,D. Morris (ed.), Weidenfeld & Nicholson, London, pp. 69–147.Google Scholar
  53. Wolfe, L., 1979. Behavioral patterns of estrous females of the Arashiyama West troop of Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata).Primates, 20: 525–534.Google Scholar
  54. Wrangham, R. W., 1979. Sex differences in chimpanzee dispersion. In:The Great Apes. Perspectives on Human Evolution, Vol. 5,D. A. Hamburg &E. R. McCown (eds.), Benjamin & Cummings, Menlo Park, California, pp. 481–489.Google Scholar
  55. Young, W. C., 1961. The hormones and mating behavior. In:Sex and Internal Secretions, Vol. 2,W. C. Young (ed.), Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, pp. 1173–1239.Google Scholar
  56. ———— &W. D. Orbison, 1944. Changes in selected features of behavior in pairs of oppositely sexed chimpanzees during the sexual cycle and after ovariectomy.J. Comp. Physiol. Psychol., 37: 107–143.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mel Allen
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Primate StudiesUniversity of OklahomaNormanU.S.A.

Personalised recommendations