2022 - Infant Proximities to Mothers: Comparing Cebus imitator and Alouatta palliata - Poster Presentation
Asia Rondoni; Melissa Seaboch
PrimatesmonkeysAnimal behaviorAnimalsbiological conceptsTropical forests
Primates are social animals; they live in groups composed of mothers, their offspring, and a variable numbers of males. Mother-infant interaction is one of the earliest forms of primate bonding and communication. After a certain period of attachment, the infants begin to become more independent from their mothers, finally reaching adulthood. Capuchin monkeys (Cebus imitator) have a relatively slow life history compared to howler monkeys (Alouatta palliata). C. imitatorinfants begin to first explore away from their mothers at 3 to 6 months of age and are adults at about 47 to 60 months of age. In comparison, A. palliata infants begin to explore in the first week or two of life, becoming entirely independent at about 30 to 36 months of age. As these data indicate, C. imitator infants are dependent on their mothers longer than A. palliata infants. Whether these patterns of independence are found in the primates of La Selva Research station remains unknown. The aim of the present study is to compare the amount of time that infant C. imitator and A. palliata spend near versus far from their mother as a measure of their dependence. I hypothesize that C. imitator infants will spend more time in close proximity to their mother compared to A. palliata infants. This research will be conducted in May 2022 at La Selva Research Station, located in northeastern Costa Rica. The station offers 3,953 acres of tropical forest and it is home to three species of primates: Alouatta palliata, Ateles geoffroyi, and C. imitator. Cebus imitator is a small animal, weighing 1.4 to 4 kg. They are black on the body, tail, and limbs and are white on the chest, shoulders, and face. The birth season is from February to July with the mean peak in birth activity in May. Alouatta palliata are sexually dimorphic with males weighing 4.5 to 9.8 kg and females weighing 3.1 to 7.6 kg. Infants are born a gray color but then become black. Data will be collected using 10-minute continuous focal sampling of mothers and infants. I will record proximity between mothers and infants. Proximity will be recorded as “in contact” (0 m), “near” (0±1 m), “far” (greater than 1 m). Also, I will record feeding, travel, grooming, and resting. The proximities of the two species will be compared with each other as well as with data from other research sites.
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