Sexual coercion in a natural mandrill population

10.24072/pcjournal.134 - Peer Community Journal, Volume 2 (2022), article no. e36.

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Increasing evidence indicates that sexual coercion is widespread. While some coercive strategies are conspicuous, such as forced copulation or sexual harassment, less is known about the ecology and evolution of intimidation, where repeated male aggression promotes future rather than immediate mating success with targeted females. Although known in humans, intimidation was recently reported in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and chacma baboons (Papio ursinus), where males are regularly violent against females. Here, we investigate the nature of male coercive strategies in wild mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx), a primate living in large polygynandrous groups where severe male aggression towards females is rare and females can form coalitions against males. Yet, we found support for all three predictions of the sexual coercion hypothesis, namely that male aggression (1) specifically targets sexually receptive females, (2) inflicts costs to these females, and (3) increases male mating success in the long-term. These results hold true when considering only non-physical threats, or only severe aggression. Finally, we show that high-ranking females are most targeted by males, probably because of their higher reproductive performances, while high-ranking males are most coercive. These results indicate that sexual intimidation is widespread in sexually dimorphic and group-living mammals, and that males and females vary in their propensities to use, and to be exposed to sexual coercion, respectively.

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DOI: 10.24072/pcjournal.134
Smit, Nikolaos 1; Baniel, Alice 2, 3; Roura-Torres, Berta 4, 5; Amblard-Rambert, Paul 6; Charpentier, Marie J. E. 1; Huchard, Elise 1

1 ISEM, UMR5554 - University of Montpellier/CNRS/IRD/EPHE, Place Eugène Bataillon (cc065), 34095 Montpellier, France
2 Center for Evolution and Medicine, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, 85281, USA
3 School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, 85287, USA
4 Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology Unit, German Primate Center, Leibniz Institute for Primate Research, Kellnerweg 4, 37077 Gottingen, Germany
5 Department of Sociobiology/Anthropology, Johann-Friedrich-Blumenbach, Institute of Zoology and Anthropology, Georg-August University Gottingen, Kellnerweg 6, 37077 Gottingen, Germany
6 Projet Mandrillus, BP 52, Bakoumba, Gabon
License: CC-BY 4.0
Copyrights: The authors retain unrestricted copyrights and publishing rights
     author = {Smit, Nikolaos and Baniel, Alice and Roura-Torres, Berta and Amblard-Rambert, Paul and Charpentier, Marie J. E. and Huchard, Elise},
     title = {Sexual coercion in a natural mandrill population},
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%A Baniel, Alice
%A Roura-Torres, Berta
%A Amblard-Rambert, Paul
%A Charpentier, Marie J. E.
%A Huchard, Elise
%T Sexual coercion in a natural mandrill population
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Smit, Nikolaos; Baniel, Alice; Roura-Torres, Berta; Amblard-Rambert, Paul; Charpentier, Marie J. E.; Huchard, Elise. Sexual coercion in a natural mandrill population. Peer Community Journal, Volume 2 (2022), article  no. e36. doi : 10.24072/pcjournal.134.

Peer reviewed and recommended by PCI : 10.24072/pci.ecology.100099

Conflict of interest of the recommender and peer reviewers:
The recommender in charge of the evaluation of the article and the reviewers declared that they have no conflict of interest (as defined in the code of conduct of PCI) with the authors or with the content of the article.

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