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Am J Primatol. 1999;48(2):127-33.

Mating system of Microcebus murinus.

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Abt. Verhaltensphysiologie, Universität Tübingen, Germany.


Microcebus murinus, a small nocturnal lemur from Madagascar, has retained features of ancient primates. Based on these ancestral traits, its social organization has often been used as a model for early primate social systems. In captivity it breeds polygynously, i.e., one male mates with several females, while females usually copulate only with the dominant male. The present project tested whether or not sexual size dimorphism, spatial distribution, and relative testis size of M. murinus correspond with predictions of the sexual selection theory concerning polygynous mating systems. The study was combined with a mark-recapture study and radio tracking of 12 animals in 1993 in a dry deciduous forest of western Madagascar at the end of the dry season. Large overlapping home ranges in males, lack of sexual size dimorphism, and relatively large testes suggest a multi-male mating system, i.e., one that is promiscuous rather than polygynous.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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