Genital Coagulates

One possible source of conflict concerns enzymes acting on seminal vesicular proteins to congeal ejaculates into structures ranging from a soft coagulum to a more substantial, rubbery plug. Seminal coagulation is more pronounced in primates with multimale mating patterns (compared to unimale systems), suggesting a male strategy to block rival sperm access to the cervical Os (Dixson and Anderson 2002). What is not known, however, is whether these coagulates impose costs on females. Plugs can be dislodged by subsequent male partners or by inseminated females in L. catta (Parga 2003) and P. troglodytes (Dixson and Mundy 1994), suggesting low potential for sexual conflict (at least over remating) or the existence of an effective female counterstrategy to male manipulation. Intersexual conflict may be more relevant in taxa where females cannot remove plugs, such as M. murinus (Eberle and Kappeler 2004a). But even in these cases, conflict cannot be assumed as plugs potentially confer benefits to females, such as facilitating fertilization via sperm retention or transport. This could be valuable in a species like M. murinus, in which females are in estrous for only a few hours on a single night each year.

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