Olfactory communication and sexual selection in strepsirrhines




Toborowsky, Carl Joshua

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Although most strepsirrhines do not exhibit apparent physical signs of sexually selected traits, researchers have suggested that olfactory communication is sexually selected. The goal of this thesis is to (1) review sexual selection theory with an emphasis on sensory communication, and (2) test whether olfactory communication is sexually selected in strepsirrhines. I examined the relationships between primate mating systems and several measures of olfactory communication in 22 species: scent marking rates, the number of scent marking methods, and the volume of the main and accessory olfactory bulbs. I also evaluated qualitative data on olfactory communication in three lemur species to determine whether they meet the criteria of a sexually selected trait. Polygynandrous and monogamous species did not significantly differ from each other in scent marking rates, scent glands, or volume of the main and accessory olfactory bulbs. Three species of strepsirrhine met all criteria of having sexually selected olfactory traits, suggesting that polygynandrous lemurs are subject to sexual selection on several levels of olfactory communication.




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