What role do olfactory cues play in chacma baboon mating?
Article first published online: 6 MAR 2009
© 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
American Journal of Primatology
Volume 71, Issue 6, pages 493–502, June 2009
How to Cite
Clarke, P. M. R., Barrett, L. and Henzi, S. P. (2009), What role do olfactory cues play in chacma baboon mating?. Am. J. Primatol., 71: 493–502. doi: 10.1002/ajp.20678
- Issue published online: 24 APR 2009
- Article first published online: 6 MAR 2009
- Manuscript Accepted: 15 FEB 2009
- Manuscript Revised: 11 FEB 2009
- Manuscript Received: 7 OCT 2008
- University of Bolton
- Wingate Foundation Scholarship (UK)
- NRF (South Africa)
- Leverhulme Research Fellowship (UK)
- multimodal signaling;
The probability of ovulation in a number of primate species is associated with both visual and auditory cues. We use 18-month behavioral data from two chacma baboon troops to provide the first systematic assessment of the possibility that olfactory cues are also involved. Using variance in the rate of olfactory inspection by males as a proxy for changes in the intensity of female vaginal odor, we found that rates of inspection were broadly correlated with changes in female fertility. Males inspected cycling females significantly more than anovulatory, noncycling females and swelling females significantly more than nonswollen cycling females. Rates of inspection peaked around the time at which males first started guarding females and were sustained until the detumescence of the female's sexual skin. We conclude, therefore, that olfactory cues represent one component of a multimodal signal of ovulation in chacma baboons. The possible reasons for such a multimodal signal are discussed. Am. J. Primatol. 71:493–502, 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.