The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)


Proceptive and attractive behaviors during female pregnancy in black and gold howler monkeys: preliminary results

MARIANA RAÑO1, MARTIN KOWALEWSKI1 and CLAUDIA VALEGGIA2.

1Estacion Biológica de Corrientes-MACN, CONICET-Argentina, 2Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania

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Pregnant females are expected to avoid spending energy on mating. However mating behavior may serve other functions different from reproduction. We explored mating behavior of two Alouatta caraya pregnant females (during first half of pregnancy, 1-3 months) from two different groups during 30 days each one at San Cayetano (27° 30’ S-58° 41’ W) in northern Argentina. We recorded all proceptive behaviors (grooming, inspection of genitals, tongue flicking, mouth to mouth, tail intertwining, anogenital presentation) and attractive behaviors (grooming, inspection of genitals, mate guarding) in full-day follows during August and September 2011. We found that pregnant females copulated 27 times, 5% of the time with central males and 95% with non central males. Both proceptive and attractive behaviors preceded 63% of copulations, 33% were preceded by only attractive behaviors and the rest by only proceptive behaviors. The most common proceptive behavior was inspection of genitals (38%, n=15 observations) and the most common attractive behavior was inspection of genitals (67%, n=26 obs.). There was no difference in females solicitations towards central and non central males (Mann Whitney test U=70, p>0.05). Non central males performed more attractive behaviors toward females than central males (Mann Whitney test U=70.5; p<0.05). We suggest that mating behavior in pregnant howlers may represent a mixed mating strategy to decrease infanticide risk and increase affiliative bonds with resident males. Additional relationships between female mating behavior during pregnancy and distribution of within group social affiliative interactions are discussed.

Funded by American Society of Mammalogists, International Primatological Society, and Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas de Argentina (CONICET)

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