• subadult male orangutans;
  • sociality;
  • consortship;
  • forced matings;
  • reproductive strategy


During a four-year period at Tanjung Puting Reserve, Central Indonesian Borneo, subadult males were observed for 670.5 observation hours, 463 hours of which were as focal individuals. Subadult males were quite gregarious, participating in groupings for 40.9% of the time they were observed as targets. Subadult male sociality centered around females; 83% of the time subadult males spent in groupings was exclusively with females, as compared to 3% of contact time spent exclusively with other males. Much subadult male sociality can be understood in terms of male-male competition for females. Interactions between adult and subadult males were almost entirely determined by the presence or absence of females. Adult males were more belligerent when females were present. Twenty-two copulations or attempted copulations occurred during 16 subadult male-female encounters, two of which were consortships. The majority of subadult male copulations (86%) were resisted matings. Outside of consortship, resisted matings (or the first in a series of resisted matings or attempts) usually took place at encounter or shortly thereafter. Subadult males also surreptitiously followed adult males and their consorts. Subadults frequently located receptive females before adult males did but were replaced by adult males when these appeared. Subadult male reproductive strategy consisted of both sneak/“rape” and consort tactics with sneak/“rape” predominating.