CAPUCHIN MONKEYS-Mating

Whether it’s done done openly or on the sly, mating is a crucial step in the dance of life. Today a glimpse of some of the courtship moves of the Capuchin monkeys of Venezuela, in South America. This month is their mating season. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

“Something that was a surprise to me is that mating behaviors are not a prominent item of their behavioral repertoire. And I found that very striking at first.”

Lynne Miller is a Visiting Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of California in San Diego.

“The times when I have seen mating the happy couple has been sort of removed from the group as if a male will entice a female away from the rest of the group. Maybe so that he has exclusive access to her. And maybe that’s why I don’t see mating is I’m busy traveling with the groups and the happy couple is off some- place else.”

And when the Capuchins finally do get to the business of mating, it’s often the female who makes the first move.

” It’s not just the males enticing the females away. The females play an active role in the mating behavior as well. What you’ll see, let’s say a female is in heat or in estrus as we say with primates, at that week out of the month the female will do a lot of active soliciting of the male. She’ll spend all day sidling up to the male, getting close to him and giving this interesting vocalization, this sort of a chittering sound. He will try to ignore her and try to ignore her and eventually he’ll turn around or approach her and she backs off. So he’ll turn away again and she’ll sidle up to him again and this complicated ballet may go on absolutely all day. At the end of hours of doing this, they’ll finally copulate. But she plays a very active role in the mating behavior.”

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. Additional funding for this series has been provided by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

CAPUCHIN MONKEYS-Mating

Capuchin Monkeys prefer to carry out their mating behavior on the sly.
Air Date:02/12/1999
Scientist:
Transcript:

Whether it's done done openly or on the sly, mating is a crucial step in the dance of life. Today a glimpse of some of the courtship moves of the Capuchin monkeys of Venezuela, in South America. This month is their mating season. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

"Something that was a surprise to me is that mating behaviors are not a prominent item of their behavioral repertoire. And I found that very striking at first."

Lynne Miller is a Visiting Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of California in San Diego.

"The times when I have seen mating the happy couple has been sort of removed from the group as if a male will entice a female away from the rest of the group. Maybe so that he has exclusive access to her. And maybe that's why I don't see mating is I'm busy traveling with the groups and the happy couple is off some- place else."

And when the Capuchins finally do get to the business of mating, it's often the female who makes the first move.

" It's not just the males enticing the females away. The females play an active role in the mating behavior as well. What you'll see, let's say a female is in heat or in estrus as we say with primates, at that week out of the month the female will do a lot of active soliciting of the male. She'll spend all day sidling up to the male, getting close to him and giving this interesting vocalization, this sort of a chittering sound. He will try to ignore her and try to ignore her and eventually he'll turn around or approach her and she backs off. So he'll turn away again and she'll sidle up to him again and this complicated ballet may go on absolutely all day. At the end of hours of doing this, they'll finally copulate. But she plays a very active role in the mating behavior."

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. Additional funding for this series has been provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.