Maternal strategies in vervet monkeys

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Sashaw, Jessica Joan Hayden
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of Psychology, c2012
I studied free-ranging vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus aethiops) in South Africa using focal animal sampling to test current theories of reproduction and maternal investment. Mothers cope with the energetic costs of lactation by feeding more than non-lactating females and targeting higher nutrient quality items as their infant ages. The dynamic nature of mother-infant interactions is highlighted, with infants spending less time in contact while the mother is moving and foraging. Other troop members “allomother” the infant primarily in the infant’s first couple of months. The length of investment is explored, with greater length of interbirth interval in low nutrient quality environments, larger troop sizes and higher survival rates. Maternal dominance rank and infant sex significantly influenced time in ventral contact, with low-ranking daughters spending more time in contact than high-ranking daughters. The findings from this thesis highlight the complex interaction of ecological and social conditions on maternal investment.
xiv, 182 leaves ; 29 cm
Cercopithecus aethiops -- Behavior -- South Africa , Parental behavior in animals -- South Africa , Dissertations, Academic