Sexual adaptation: is female-male mounting a supernormal courtship display in Japanese macaques?

Thumbnail Image
Gunst, Noëlle
Leca, Jean-Baptiste
Vasey, Paul L.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
We analysed heterosexual consortships in a free-ranging group of Japanese macaques in which adult females routinely perform female-to-male mounting (FMM). We tested whether FMM is more efficient (i.e., a “supernormal courtship” behavioral pattern) than species-typical female-to-male sexual solicitations (FMSS) at prompting subsequent male-to-female mounts (MFM). In a context of high femalefemale competition for male mates, we found that (1) FMM functioned to focus the male consort partner’s attention as efficiently as FMSS and prevented him from moving away, and (2) FMM was more efficient than species-typical FMSS at expediting MFM (i.e., the most fitness-enhancing sexual behavior of a mating sequence). We concluded that FMM could be considered a supernormal courtship behavioral pattern in adult female Japanese macaques. This population-specific sexual adaptation may result from a combination of favorable socio-demographic conditions. This study has implications for the evolutionary history of non-conceptive mounting patterns in Japanese macaques and non-conceptive sexuality in humans.
Accepted author manuscript
Female-to-male mount , Supernormal courtship , Sexual solicitation , Non-conceptive sex , Sexual adaptation , Japanese macaques , Non-human primates
Gunst, N., Leca, J.-B., & Vasey, P. L. (2022). Sexual adaptation. Is female-male mounting a supernormal courtship display in Japanese macaques? Behaviour. Advance online publication.