It has been proposed that primates use advertisement calls exclusively to negotiate spacing, but the function of female calls has rarely been studied. Here, we investigated the function of male and female advertisement calls in the northern giant mouse lemur (Mirza zaza),a non-gregarious nocturnal primate from north-western Madagascar. We recorded advertisement calls and associated behaviours of 35 M. zaza individuals at the Duke University Lemur Center. We found that females of M. zaza exclusively use their advertisement calls to advertise oestrus. In contrast, male advertisement calls appeared to be used in a spacing context. These findings show that primates can use their advertisement calls for both spacing and mate attraction, and that the sexes may differ in how they use these calls. The novel find of females of M. zaza attracting mates with loud advertisement calls contrasts with many non-primate taxa, where acoustic mate attraction is usually a function of male advertisement calls, and with other primates, where females use visual and olfactory cues to attract males. The loud female advertisement calls of M. zaza likely ensure mating success during the short receptive phase in this non-gregariously foraging, nocturnal primate.

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