Copulation calls in wild Mueller’s gibbons

Interaction Studies 20 (2):362-374 (2019)
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Abstract

Mating activity of a wild Mueller’s gibbon group was observed in the Danum Valley Conservation Area, Sabah, Malaysia. The purpose of this study was to investigate the function of copulation calls in gibbons. The female emitted copulation calls at the time of intromission and pelvic thrusting. Copulation calls were composed of two notes and one of them was sung only while mating. Approximately half of copulation calls were sung near the range boundary. Mating with copulation calls sometimes occurred while singing. According to the model that female copulation calls have evolved under the selective pressures of risk of infanticide and sperm competition, copulation calls should be rare in species with little female promiscuity. As gibbons usually live in pair-living social organization and have a monogamous mating system, no vocal signals by female gibbons are considered to be needed. However, clear copulation calls were emitted by the female. It suggests that the relationship between paired gibbons is unstable. Copulation calls by the female Mueller’s gibbon may function to increase mate guarding and strengthen the pair bond.

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