Observations of reproductive behavior in free‐ranging
Lemur cattawere carried out during one annual cycle. Variability in the behavior of female ringtailed lemurs during parturition appears to be mainly a function of the female's parity and thus her experience. Females within a troop show estrous asynchrony and characteristically mate with more than one male. Females also exhibit proceptive behavior toward and mate with some males from other troops and with transferring males. The potential for a male to monopolize mating opportunities during a female's short estrous period is therefore limited. Male mating strategies in ringtailed lemurs can be seen as adaptations to female mate choice during a highly restricted breeding season. In this species the dominance hierarchy does not break down with regard to the order of mating. The highest ranking male (central male) mates first and shows precopulatory guarding and longer postejaculatory guarding, which may increase his chances of siring the offspring. Subsequent mating partners have developed various counterstrategies to mitigate mating order effects.