In a former posting covering female dominance, I referred to the particular structure of ring-tailed lemur society in which all adult females are dominant over all adult males. In order to be allowed to hang around and gain the benefits of group living, male lemurs submit to females when it comes to access to food, water, and sleeping sites. It might be easy to look at these males as being wimpy since they pretty much avoid challenging female authority over them. However, I have witnessed extreme counts of unmitigated violence among adult males during the breeding season that has resulted in severe injuries and even their death. (Cute and cuddly? Of course. Capable of inflicting serious bodily harm? Most definitely!) Male ring-tails exhibit all sorts of fighting styles, usually beginning with a “stink fight” whereby they rub their tails with scent and fling it at each other, but potentially escalating to acrobatic grappling and vicious biting. If a male doesn’t fight fiercely for breeding rights during the mating season, he may not have any offspring the following year. So, while males spend most of their lives in a submissive state towards others in the group, there are definitely times when aggression heightens and their combative side is revealed. Males can quickly become anything but wimpy in regards to staking their claim on breeding females. I like to think of lemurs as the Knights of the Primate Kingdom who keep their manhood by practicing a devout code of chivalry: respect female group members but possess adept strength and skill to fight when the need arises. And you’d best believe, no mama can resist a tough guy with a sensitive side.