Reproductive ability of female chimpanzees can be affected if they are the center of attention, reveals a new research.
The study at the University of New Mexico found that when the female chimpanzees, which have an exceedingly slow reproductive schedule and only give birth every five to seven years, are ready to reproduce, they display very large swellings of their genitals that they often do so for several months before conceiving.
Male chimpanzees compete quite fiercely and in great numbers for the attention of the rare female who might bear their offspring and so the contested female may have little choice than to tolerate the attentions of these would-be suitors, as mating with many males ensures that their young are not killed by jealous males.
However, all this harassment and jealous guarding by males can influence the ability of females to feed and some females, such as those with young infants, can avoid this chaos, but only if there is high-quality food to be found elsewhere.
Author Melissa Emery Thompson said that this has significant downstream effects on females' reproductive functioning and fertility rates and demonstrates that the reproductive tactics of male chimps could put a damper on the ability of the female members of their species to conceive.
The study is published in Springer's journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology.