Advertisement

Primates

, Volume 45, Issue 4, pp 271–274 | Cite as

First experimental evidence for female mate choice in a nocturnal primate

  • Mathias Craul
  • Elke Zimmermann
  • Ute RadespielEmail author
Short Communication

Abstract

Female mate choice can be hypothesised in most nocturnal primates, since females show a higher investment in their offspring than males. The aim of this experimental study was to investigate if female grey mouse lemurs perform mate choice and whether age, relatedness (to the male), or male advertisement call activity systematically influence their decisions. A two-way mate choice design was developed in which females could choose between two males. Mate choice was deduced from the time spent in proximity to the males and from mating behaviour. During oestrus 12 of 17 females participated actively in the experiment and all of them showed either a significant spatial (n=11) or behavioural (n=1) preference for one male. In four cases copulations were observed. The influence of age on female mate choice was not statistically significant. In the cases with copulations, however, females mostly preferred the older male. This might indicate a preference for older age as an indicator of experience, fitness, and/or status. The influence of relatedness on female mate choice could not be definitely clarified. However, results imply a mechanism of kin recognition on the basis of familiarity. In the majority of choices, females preferred the male with higher trill call activity. Since trill call activity correlates with the relative dominance status of males, these results suggest an importance of the male dominance status for female mate choice in grey mouse lemurs. Altogether our findings indicate that females use a complex of different cues to choose their mates.

Keywords

Lemurs Female mate choice Sexual selection Microcebus murinus 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We would like to acknowledge the caregiving efforts of Achim Sauer, Wolfgang Mehl, Christoph Andrijczuk and Brigitte Lohmeier in the animal husbandry facilities of the Institute of Zoology, Hannover. The experiments have complied with the ethical standards provided in the German law for animal protection. We thank Joe Manson and an anonymous reviewer for helpful comments on the manuscript.

References

  1. Alberts SA (1999) Paternal kin discrimination in wild baboons. Proc R Soc Lond B 266:1501–1506CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Andersson M (1994) Sexual selection. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  3. Andrès M, Solignac M, Perret M (2003) Mating system in mouse lemurs: theories and facts, using analysis of paternity. Folia Primatol 74:355–366CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Buchan JC, Alberts SA, Silk JB, Altmann J (2003) True paternal care in a multi-male primate society. Nature 425:179–181CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Eberle M, Kappeler PM (2002) Mouse lemurs in space and time: a test of the socioecological model. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 51:131–139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Jennions MD, Petrie M (1997) Variation in mate choice an mating preferences: a review of causes and consequences. Biol Rev 72:283–327CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Küster J, Paul A, Arnemann J (1994) Kinship, familiarity and mating avoidance in Barbary macaques, Macaca sylvanus. Anim Behav 48:1183–1194CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Lebec A (1984) Relation entre le comportement agressif du Microcèbe mâle, les autres comportements et la physiologie sexuelle. Rôle de quelques facteurs déterminants. Thèse 3ème cycle, University of Paris VIGoogle Scholar
  9. Møller AP, Alatalo RV (1999) Good-genes effects in sexual selection. Proc R Soc Lond B 266:85–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Paul A (2002) Sexual selection and mate choice. Int J Primatol 23:877–904CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Radespiel U (2000) Sociality in the gray mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus) in northwestern Madagascar. Am J Primatol 51:21–40CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Radespiel U, Zimmermann E (2001) Female dominance in captive gray mouse lemurs (Microcebus murinus). Am J Primatol 54:181–192CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Radespiel U, Zimmermann E (2003) The influence of familiarity, age, experience and female mate choice on pregnancies in captive grey mouse lemurs. Behaviour 140:301–318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Radespiel U, Dal Secco V, Drögemüller C, Braune P, Labes E, Zimmermann E (2002) Sexual selection, multiple mating and paternity in grey mouse lemurs, Microcebus murinus. Anim Behav 63:259–268CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Schmelting B (2001) Reproductive tactics in male grey mouse lemurs (Microcebus murinus, J.F. Miller 1777) in northwestern Madagascar. PhD thesis, School of Veterinary Medicine, HannoverGoogle Scholar
  16. Small MF (1989) Female choice in nonhuman primates. Yearbook Phys Anthropol 32:103–127Google Scholar
  17. Wrogemann D, Radespiel U, Zimmermann E (2001) Comparison of reproductive characteristics and changes in body weight between captive populations of rufous and gray mouse lemurs. Int J Primatol 22:91–108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Zimmermann E (1995) Acoustic communication in nocturnal prosimians. In: Alterman L, Doyle GA, Izard MK (eds) Creatures of the dark. Plenum Press, New York, pp 311–330Google Scholar
  19. Zimmermann E, Lerch C (1993) The complex acoustic design of an advertisement call in male mouse lemurs (Microcebus murinus, Prosimii, Primates) and sources of its variation. Ethology 93:211–224Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre and Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of ZoologySchool of Veterinary Medicine HannoverHannoverGermany

Personalised recommendations