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. 2007 Dec;69(12):1325-39.
doi: 10.1002/ajp.20438.

Variation in Fecal Testosterone Levels, Inter-Male Aggression, Dominance Rank and Age During Mating and Post-Mating Periods in Wild Adult Male Ring-Tailed Lemurs (Lemur Catta)

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Variation in Fecal Testosterone Levels, Inter-Male Aggression, Dominance Rank and Age During Mating and Post-Mating Periods in Wild Adult Male Ring-Tailed Lemurs (Lemur Catta)

L Gould et al. Am J Primatol. .

Abstract

In primate species exhibiting seasonal reproduction, patterns of testosterone excretion in adult males are variable: in some species, peaks correlate with female receptivity periods and heightened male-male aggression over access to estrous females, in others, neither heightened aggression nor marked elevations in testosterone have been noted. In this study, we examined mean fecal testosterone ( f T) levels and intermale aggression in wild adult male ring-tailed lemurs residing in three groups at Beza Mahafaly Reserve, Madagascar. Results obtained from mating and post-mating season 2003 were compared to test Wingfield et al. [1990. Am Nat 136:829-846] "challenge hypothesis", which predicts a strong positive relationship between male testosterone levels and male-male competition for access to receptive females during breeding season. f T levels and rates of intermale aggression were significantly higher during mating season compared to the post-mating period. Mean f T levels and aggression rates were also higher in the first half of the mating season compared with the second half. Number of males in a group affected rates of intermale agonism, but not mean f T levels. The highest-ranking males in two of the groups exhibited higher mean f T levels than did lower-ranking males, and young males exhibited lower f T levels compared to prime-aged and old males. In the post-mating period, mean male f T levels did not differ between groups, nor were there rank or age effects. Thus, although male testosterone levels rose in relation to mating and heightened male-male aggression, f T levels fell to baseline breeding levels shortly after the early mating period, and to baseline non-breeding levels immediately after mating season had ended, offsetting the high cost of maintaining both high testosterone and high levels of male-male aggression in the early breeding period.

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