Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Mating tactics and socioecology of male white -bellied spider monkeys (Ateles belzebuth chamek)
by Gibson, Kimberly Nicole, Ph.D., Yale University, 2008, 202; 3342729
Abstract (Summary)

Male mating strategies depend on female dispersion in space and time, male-male competition, and sexual conflict between males and females, all of which influence male access to females. In this study, social behavior and range use data are used to further our understanding of the mating tactics, inter-sexual conflict, and territoriality of the spider monkey. Data were gathered during nearly two years of fieldwork observing four social communities (groups) of Ateles belzebuth chamek at the Cocha Cashu Biological Station in the Manu National Park, Peru.

This population of spider monkeys had a mating system that mostly involved scramble competition polygyny. Copulations always took place away from other mature males usually during covert mating consortships in which the mating partners coordinated to avoid conspecifics. Males used variable mating tactics: opportunism, consorts, mate monitoring, monopolization, and rarely mate guarding and force.

Sexual coercion, defined as aggressive behavior directed towards females in order to gain reproductive advantage at a cost to the female, appears to occur in many mammalian taxa, although empirical tests are difficult. Behavior that qualified as sexual coercion (chasing and fighting females with infants, forced copulation, infanticide) was rare. Male chasing of cycling females was more common, but did not fit the definition of sexual coercion because it did not appear to influence females to mate with certain males over others or constrain female mate choice. Chasing, which occasionally induced females to urinate, appears to be a means for males to monitor many widely dispersed females simultaneously. Communities differed in the number of individuals they contained and in home range size, perimeter, and length of shared boundaries. Males did not have clear dominance relationships and intense contests were rare. Males competed in contests for females within communities, but cooperated to defend territories from outsiders, which probably constrained within-community competition. During encounters between communities, males along with females vocally defended their territory or fled. In some cases, males vocalized as they approached territorial borders and sometimes patrolled their territorial boundaries. These data support suggestions that males defend territories to protect their exclusive access or "long-term reproductive benefits" to groups of females.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Watts, David Peter
School: Yale University
School Location: United States -- Connecticut
Source: DAI-A 70/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Physical anthropology, Ecology, Organismal biology
Keywords: Ateles, Ateles belzebuth, Male-male social relationships, Mating, Mating behavior, Peru, Sexual coercion, Spider monkeys, Territoriality, White-bellied spider monkeys
Publication Number: 3342729
ISBN: 978-0-549-97801-5
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