Female Mate Preferences Among Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii of Kanyawara, Kibale National Park, Uganda
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- Pieta, K. Int J Primatol (2008) 29: 845. doi:10.1007/s10764-008-9282-5
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Studies of reproduction among chimpanzees traditionally have focused on the mating strategies of males. However, less is known about the mating strategies of female chimpanzees and whether they demonstrate mate choice. I investigated sexual behavior and female mate preference in the chimpanzees of the Kanyawara community. To estimate mate preferences, I analyzed female proceptivity and resistance rates of 6 estrous females toward a total of 13 males as well as male solicitation and aggression rates toward females. Males solicited some females more often than others for mating and preferred them throughout estrus, not only during the periovulatory period (POP), when conception was most likely. In contrast, though females had strong mate preferences in both non-POP and POP, their mate preferences were not consistent between the 2 phases. The shift in mate preferences is evidence of a promiscuous yet tactical mating strategy to confuse paternity. Further, females were more proceptive and generally less resistant toward eschewed males in non-POP and more proceptive and less resistant toward preferred males in POP. Hence, the results indicate that females attempted to mate selectively during the fertile phase. Kanyawara female chimpanzees appear to change their mating strategies and selectivity during estrus and thus may pursue a mixed reproductive strategy. The tactic may allow females to deceive males, indicating that promiscuity among chimpanzee females may be more strategic than previously thought.