Mating avoidance in female olive baboons (Papio anubis) infected by Treponema pallidum
Paciência, F. M. D. ; Rushmore, J. ; Chuma, I. S. ; Lipende, I. F. ; Caillaud, D. ; Knauf, S. ; Zinner, D.
Citable Link (URL):http://resolver.sub.uni-goettingen.de/purl?gs-1/17133
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are ubiquitous within wild animal populations, yet it remains largely unknown whether animals evolved behavioral avoidance mechanisms in response to STI acquisition. We investigated the mating behavior of a wild population of olive baboons (Papio anubis) infected by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. This pathogen causes highly conspicuous genital ulcerations in males and females, which signal infectious individuals. We analyzed data on 876 mating attempts and associated acceptance or rejection responses in a group of about 170 baboons. Our findings indicate that females are more likely to avoid copulation if either the mating partner or females themselves have ulcerated genitals. We suggest that this outcome is linked to the overall higher choosiness and infection-risk susceptibility typically exhibited by females. Our results show that selection pressures imposed by pathogens induce individual behavioral modifications, leading to altered mate choice and could reduce promiscuity in a wild nonhuman primate population.