More from Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity by Bruce Bagemihl. The Proboscis Monkey and its extraordinary nose lives in Borneo. The species is regarded as vulnerable, one stage away from being endangered.
Proboscis groups are centred around a polygamous male with several adult female mates, although males have little say in the group’s social life or decision making. Female relationships hold the group together and most friendly or aggressive interactions take place between females. You could possibly conceptualise it from a less patriarchal and heteronormative viewpoint as a group of females who maintain a single male partner that they agree to share. Sometimes the “excess” males band together in all-male troops.
Both males and females take part in homosexual activity, although neither heterosexual and homosexual advances are always welcomed and the aggressor will try to force them. But sexual activity of any orientation is fairly rare. In one study, there were only 12 mountings in a whole year, two of which (17%) were same-sex. 28% of all adult males never have heterosexual relations because they live in all-male groups. Proboscis Monkeys will even try to stop others having sex. Attempted heterosexual copulations gather audiences who try to disrupt the mating pair by climbing on them, pulling the male’s nose, making noises, or making distracting movements. It’s like a mashup of monkey porn and Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Proboscis Monkey (Nasalis larvatus)
Homosexuality: Female & Male Behaviours: Affectionate, Sexual, Pair-bonding Ranking: Incidental Observed: Wild, Captivity
(See It’s Gay Animal Fortnight for an explanation of this box.)
Next time on Gay Animal Fortnight… Boy Flycatchers who like Boy Flycatchers who act like Girl Flycatchers.
Original Proboscis Monkey image from Wikipedia Commons.