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Mating behaviour in the agile antechinus Antechinus agilis (Marsupialia: Dasyuridae)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 August 2002

Glenn A. Shimmin
Affiliation:
Department of Anatomy, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, 3168, Australia Department of Environmental Biology, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, 5005, Australia
David A. Taggart
Affiliation:
Department of Environmental Biology, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, 5005, Australia Royal Zoological Society of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, 5001, Australia
Peter D. Temple-Smith
Affiliation:
Department of Zoology, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, 3052, Australia Conservation Research Unit, Zoological Board of Victoria, Parkville, Victoria, 3052, Australia
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Abstract

Antechinus agilis mate within a 2–3 week, highly synchronized period each year, with copulation consisting of short bouts of thrusting interrupted by longer bouts of rest during which time the male remains mounted. In the laboratory, mating can last as long as 8–12 h without any break in intromission, with captive paired animals generally copulating once per day (Woolley, 1966a,b). The mating programme used in this study examines the effects on copulatory behaviour of changing: (1) timing of access relative to ovulation; (2) order of mating; (3) the delay between the first and second males' mating access. The total mount time was divided into quarters and the changes in behavioural patterns assessed by examining changes in the frequency of five key activities; thrusting, pelvic side-to-side movements, walking, female resistance, and dismounts. No significant differences were observed in the time from initial pairing to first mount regardless of mating order or time of mating, nor was the total time mounted significantly affected by mating order. Significant reductions in the total time mounted were evident, however, for those males mating closer to the time of ovulation. The behavioural strategies associated with copulation in A. agilis significantly enhance arguments for equality between males and females in determining overall mating strategies.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2002 The Zoological Society of London

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Mating behaviour in the agile antechinus Antechinus agilis (Marsupialia: Dasyuridae)
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