When a monkey loved a deer…

Love has always been difficult to define exactly. A newly published study adds nuance, or at least data, to the concept. The study is:

Interspecies sexual behaviour between a male Japanese macaque and female sika deer,” Marie Pelé, Alexandre Bonnefoy, Masaki Shimada, and Cédric Sueur, Primates, epub January 2017. The authors, in Strasbourg, France and Uenohara, Japan, report:

“Interspecies sexual behaviour or ‘reproductive interference’ has been reported across a wide range of animal taxa. However, most of these occurrences were observed in phylogenetically close species… Only one scientific study has reported this phenomenon, describing sexual harassment of king penguins by an Antarctic fur seal. This is the first article to report mating behaviour between a male Japanese macaque (Macaca fuscata yakui) and female sika deer (Cervus nippon yakushimae) on Yakushima Island, Japan. Although Japanese macaques are known to ride deer, this individual showed clearly sexual behaviour towards several female deer, some of which tried to escape whilst others accepted the mount.”

Here’s pictorial detail from the study:

The penguin/seal study, mentioned above, is: de Bruyn PN, Tosh CA, Bester MN (2008) “Sexual harassment of a king penguin by an Antarctic fur seal,” Journal of Ethology, 26:295–297.)

(Thanks to Reto Schneider for bringing this to our attention.)

Leave a Reply