Mating system in mouse lemurs: theories and facts, using analysis of paternity.


Among nocturnal Malagasy prosimians, the grey mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus) is considered a solitary species which has a promiscuous mating system. Indirect indicators, such as the lack of sexual dimorphism, the overlapping of male and female home ranges with each other, the synchronism of seasonal oestrus and the high relative testes size of males, support the presence of sperm competition. In captivity, an intense sexual precopulatory competition develops among males, leading to the emergence of a dominant male who fathers the majority of the litters. Although multiple mating did occur, the dominant male achieved the majority of the matings on the first day of oestrus. A 'mate-guarding' behaviour, exhibited by the dominant male, was observed in 11 groups out of 15, on only the first day of the vaginal opening and was significantly more often directed towards younger females. Females also played an important role in sexual competition among males, since their presence enhances the aggressive interactions between males. Difference in aggressive behaviours of females, in response to male sexual solicitations, suggests female mate choice. Compared with data from wild animals, it may be hypothesised that alternative mating strategies can be used by male grey mouse lemurs to enhance their reproductive success, depending on the availability and distribution of receptive females.

Cite this paper

@article{Andrs2003MatingSI, title={Mating system in mouse lemurs: theories and facts, using analysis of paternity.}, author={Marjorie Andr{\`e}s and Michel Solignac and Martine Perret}, journal={Folia primatologica; international journal of primatology}, year={2003}, volume={74 5-6}, pages={355-66} }