WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A recent study in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior reveals an occurrence of sexual activity between different animal species in Japan.
- Adult Japanese female macaques have taken to mounting sika deer for release.
- Researchers say they’re convinced that this activity is sexual in nature.
Japanese female macaques are known to mount one another in a sexual fashion. But, in a recent study, researchers found out that there’s a new social trend being practiced by young female macaques. Those young monkeys realized that sika stags can provide release.
The author of the study, Noëlle Gunst-Leca of the University of Lethbridge told PopSci: “We first witnessed this behavior in 2014, and the locals who interact with this population on a daily basis had never noticed it before then. So we were quite lucky because I think we witnessed the start of it.”
Although the stags don’t look like they are enjoying the ritual sexually, what they get is free grooming. The macaques would perform grooming behaviors on their “lover”, picking ticks and other parasites off of their backs and necks.
“The monkeys sometimes playfully ride the deer “rodeo-style,” Gunst-Leca said. “The females mount the deer and thrust their pelvis.” The new mounting behavior is undoubtedly sexual.
The study noted that not all deer allow this behavior. The researchers found 13 successful “mating”. All except one involved adult male deer, one involved a young male. They observed eight failed interactions. Five of those involved females or young males that ended with macaques being thrown onto the ground. Only one interaction with an adult male failed. The other two failed because another female macaque interrupted to have her own shot with the deer.
“Our research on the sexual development of this species shows that these adolescent females are not the preferred partners of adult males,” Gunst-Leca said.
Japanese macaques aren’t the only species seeking sex with another species. It is known as interspecific or heterospecific sexual behavior. Hybrid animals are the proof of this sexual behavior.
“It’s not very rare in the animal kingdom. It probably happens more frequently than we think,” Gunst-Leca said.
At age five, monkeys become fertile. But they are always rejected by male partners until they’re older. That’s why females mount one another. “They’re not entirely homosexual,” Gunst-Leca says, “but they’re certainly bisexual.”
The female macaques might see stags as a great sexual outlet, or they could just be practicing on them. Young females avoid rejection from males of their own kind. They also avoid violent and dangerous intercourse with the male monkeys.
“They could see this as safe sex,” Gunst-Leca explains. “During this social play, some young female must have experienced a kind of genital stimulation. It’s what we’d call a developmental byproduct of nonsexual activity.”
Source: Popular Science