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ABSTRACT

The courtship and sexual behaviour in Macropodoidea (kangaroos, wallabies and rat-kangaroos) is reviewed. Data from studies on free-ranging and captive animals are included, because comparisons revealed no significant differences in type and pattern of behavioural elements. The use of sequential analysis permits quantitative comparisons between species as well as between age classes of any given species, with regard to aspects such as fixation, repetition and predictability of displays, but also with regard to homologies in behaviour.

Mating systems in macropodoids, depending on distribution of resources for females, are diverse with respect to male/male competition. Correlating with basic types of the mating system, a variable degree of length and complexity in courtship is found. An attempt to compare the degree of ritualization is made by attributing point-scores (on fixation, exaggeration, incompleteness and predictability of courtship sequences). The resulting point-score is compared with a phylogenetic tree of the super-family and with the basic types of mating systems to discuss influences of phylogeny and mate acquisition on ritualization processes.