International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 24, Issue 5, pp 1057–1075

Costs of Mate Guarding and Opportunistic Mating Among Wild Male Japanese Macaques



A trade-off relationship between mating and feeding effort is important when considering reproductive strategies of long-lived species. I compared the influence of male sexual activities, female mate-choice behaviors and the daily activity budget on male mating success among males in a group of wild Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata yakui) on Yakushima Island. The 1st-ranking male, which had immigrated into the troop at this rank, more frequently approached peri-ovulatory females, spent more time grooming peri-ovulatory females and in mounting series and spent less time feeding than subordinate males did. The 1st-ranking male attained the highest mating success as a result of his high expenditure of time and energy in sexual behaviors directed toward peri-ovulatory females. Mating success of subordinate males did not relate to the amount of sexual effort, but instead to the frequency of female approaches, female rush toward males and the number of peri-ovulatory females within the group. The pattern of intermale competition shifted from nearly contest competition to scramble competition as the number of peri-ovulatory females in the group increased. Feeding time of subordinate males did not vary between the days when they copulated and the days when they did not. The findings demonstrate that mate guarding in the 1st-ranking male is a high-cost mating tactic, while opportunistic mating in subordinate males is a low-cost mating tactic. The differences in male mating tactics are probably related to male life history and to the formation of groups with a high socionomic sex ratio.

mate guarding opportunistic mating activity budgets female choice Japanese macaques 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Human Evolution StudiesKyoto UniversityJapan;

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