Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 47, Issue 4, pp 857–861 | Cite as

Homosexual Behavior Between Male Spider Monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi)

  • Laura BusiaEmail author
  • Anthony R. Denice
  • Filippo Aureli
  • Colleen M. Schaffner
Original Paper


Homosexual behavior is defined as genital contact or genital manipulation between same-sex individuals. In nonhuman primates, it may regulate social relationships by serving as a means of reconciliation, tension alleviation, or alliance formation. Grappling is a rare and complex behavior, which most frequently occurs between same-sex individuals of the genus Ateles and can include mutual manipulation of the genitalia. Here we report three cases of penile–anal intromission during grappling between wild male spider monkeys living in the natural protected area of Otoch Ma’ax Yetel Kooh, Mexico. In all the observed cases, the same adult male was the actor. To our knowledge, this is the first report of penile–anal intromission between males in any New World primate species.


Ateles Homosexual behavior Mounting Grappling 



We thank Augusto Canul, Eulogio Canul, Juan Canul, and Macedonio Canul for their valuable assistance during fieldwork. We are grateful to Laura G. Vick for sharing the management of the long-term project. We thank the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACyT) for LB’s Ph.D. studentships (CVU No. 490429) and for equipment (No. I0101/152/2014 C-133/2014). We thank Paul Vasey for encouraging us to publish our observations. We are also grateful to Dr. Zucker and three anonymous reviewers who helped us to improve a previous version of this manuscript. We conducted this research in accordance with the guidelines of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources of Mexico (SEMARNAT) and the Mexican Commission for Protected Areas (CONANP) under research permits DGVS00910/13 and DGVS02716/14.


This study was funded by Consejo Nacional por la Ciencia y la Tecnologia (CONACyT) with a Ph.D. fellowship (CVU No. 490429) and with equipment (No. I0101/152/2014 C-133/2014).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura Busia
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Anthony R. Denice
    • 3
    • 4
  • Filippo Aureli
    • 2
    • 5
  • Colleen M. Schaffner
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Sociology and AnthropologySun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Instituto de NeuroetologiaUniversidad VeracruzanaXalapaMexico
  3. 3.Graduate Program in Primate BehaviorCentral Washington UniversityEllensburgUSA
  4. 4.Project ChimpsBlue RidgeUSA
  5. 5.Research Centre in Evolutionary Anthropology and PalaeoecologyLiverpool John Moores UniversityLiverpoolUK

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