Reproduction and social rank in female stumptail Macaques (Macaca arctoides)
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Reproductive physiology was studied in female stumptail macaques. Initially the monkeys were housed indoors (individually and in small groups) and later as one large (92 individuals) social group in an outdoor cage. Most data were collected during the 4-year outdoor period. Plasma progesterone determination in blood samples taken at weekly intervals allowed estimation of ovulation and conception dates. The age at first ovulation (X =3.73 years) was positively correlated with body weight at 3 years of age. The average age at first birth was 4.90 years. Gestation lengths averaged 176.6 days. Following a live birth ovulations returned after a mean interval of 11 months but following an abortion or still birth this interval was 1 month. Usually a number of ovulatory cycles (X =2.37) preceded a conception. Interbirth intervals (IBIs) in the outdoor cage (X =619.4 days) were significantly longer than IBIs during the indoor period (X =523.1), because indoors the infants were weaned at the age of 7 months, while outdoors weaning occurred more naturally. IBIs following abortions or still births (X =291.9 days) were significantly shorter than IBIs following live births. Age at first ovulation, age at first birth, IBIs, and infant production rates were not correlated with dominance rank. Ovarian cycle lengths (X =30.2 days, mode = 28 days) were comparable to previously reported data from laboratory-housed stumptails. No systematic seasonal fluctuations were found in the onset of sexual maturity, in ovarian cycle lengths, in copulation frequencies, and in distribution of births.