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Inter-Mount Social Interactions During Heterosexual and Homosexual Consortships in Japanese Macaques


P. L. Vasey, Department of Psychology, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, AB T1K 3M4, Canada.


In this study, we examined whether female Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata) exhibited male-typical patterns of inter-mount social behaviour during homosexual consortships. Data were collected on heterosexual and homosexual consortships from a population of free-ranging Japanese macaques in Arashiyama, Japan. Inter-mount intervals were defined as the period between two consecutive mounts. A total of 3374 heterosexual inter-mount intervals and 1412 homosexual inter-mount intervals were analysed. We examined nine different categories of inter-mount behaviour. Sex differences between heterosexually consorting males and females existed for three of the inter-mount behaviours we examined (i.e. ventral-to-dorsal orientation, aggression directed toward third party individuals, tree-shaking displays). The subordinate female partners in homosexually consorting pairs exhibited some sex-atypical inter-mount behaviours. This sex-atypicality did not appear to reflect generalized developmental canalization in the direction of a male-typical suite of behaviours. Rather, the observed behavioural sex-atypicality could be best explained in terms of the unique alliance-related dynamics that characterized homosexual consortships in Japanese macaques.