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Costs of and Investment in Mate-Guarding in Wild Long-Tailed Macaques (Macaca fascicularis) : Influences of Female Characteristics and Male-Female Social Bonds

Girard-Buttoz, C.éd.; Heistermann, M.; Rahmi, E.; Agil, M.; Fauzan, P.A.; Engelhardt, A.

International Journal of Primatology 35: 701-724

2014


ISSN/ISBN: 0164-0291
PMID: 25152554
DOI: 10.1007/s10764-014-9775-3
Accession: 052372179

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Male primates living in multimale groups tend to direct mate and mate-guarding choices toward females of high reproductive value, i.e., high-ranking, parous females, or females with which they share strong bonds. Little is known, however, about the constraints that may limit male mate-guarding choices (the costs of this behavior) and the influence of the females' quality on male investment in mate-guarding. We aimed to study the effects of female rank, parity status, and male-female social bond strength on the costs of and investment in mate-guarding by males. We carried out our study during two reproductive seasons on three groups of wild long-tailed macaques in Indonesia. We combined behavioral observations on male locomotion and activity with noninvasive measurements of fecal glucocorticoids (fGC). Males spent less time feeding when mate-guarding nulliparous females than when mate-guarding parous females and tended to have higher fGC levels when mate-guarding low-ranking nulliparous females than when mate-guarding high-ranking nulliparous ones. Evolution should thus favor male choice for high-ranking parous females because such a decision brings benefits at proximate (reduced costs of mate-guarding) and ultimate (higher reproductive value) levels. Further, male investment in mate-guarding was flexible and contingent on female reproductive and social value. Males were more vigilant and more aggressive toward other males when mate-guarding females to which they were strongly bonded and/or high-ranking ones than when mate-guarding other females. Our findings bring a new dimension to the study of mate choice by showing that males not only mate preferentially with high-quality females but may also aim to secure paternity with these females through optimized monopolization.

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