In socially monogamous species, mate-guarding could be a reproductive strategy that benefits both males and females, especially when males contribute to parental care. By actively guarding mates, males may reduce their chances of being cuckolded, whereas females that mate-guard may reduce the likelihood that their mates will desert them or acquire additional mates, and hence limit or reduce paternal care of offspring. Owl monkeys (Aotus spp.) are socially monogamous with biparental care of young and, hence, potential beneficiaries of mate-guarding. We presented mated pairs of captive owl monkeys (A. nancymaae) with unfamiliar male and female conspecifics, to determine if either member of the pair exhibits intraspecific aggression toward an intruder or stays close to its mate, behaviors indicative of mate-guarding. Male mates were more responsible for the maintenance of close proximity between mates than females. Male mates also exhibited elevated levels of behavior that signify arousal when presented with a male conspecific. These responses by mated male owl monkeys are consistent with patterns that may help prevent cuckoldry.
- Intrasexual aggression
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics