Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 175–183 | Cite as

Cycle synchrony and probability of conception in female hamadryas baboonsPapio hamadryas

  • Dietmar Zinner
  • Michael H. Schwibbe
  • Werner Kaumanns


We investigated the factors affecting conception in a captive population ofPapio hamadryas. We collected data on reproductive states from 16 females over 12 years. Probability of conception was related to the outcome of the immediately preceding pregnancy and the fate of the preceding offspring. After abortions or when an infant survived more than 6 months, a female needed more cycles to conceive than when an infant died within the first 6 months post partum. The degree of estrus synchrony within, but not between, one-male units influenced the probability of conception. Females experiencing conceptive estrus showed less synchrony than those experiencing nonconceptive estrus. The number of females simultaneously in estrus within a one-male unit was negatively correlated with the probability of conception. Within our captive population, group size and male and female age had no influence on the probability of conception. The results indicate that sperm may be a limited resource in the one-male reproductive units of hamadryas baboons. Female-female competition for conception may exist and should influence the demography of one-male units.

Key words

Papio hamadryas One-male units Probability of conception Synchrony of estrus Female-female competition 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abegglen JJ (1984) On socialization in hamadryas baboons. Bucknell University Press, LewisburgGoogle Scholar
  2. Altmann J, Altmann SA, Hausfater G, McCuskey SA (1977) Life history of yellow baboons: physical development, reproductive parameters and infant mortality. Primates 18:315–330Google Scholar
  3. Altmann J, Altmann SA, Hausfater G (1978) Primate infant's effects on mother's future reproduction. Science 201:1028–1030Google Scholar
  4. Altmann J, Hausfater G, Altmann SA (1988) Determinants of reproductive success in savanna baboons,Papio cynocephalus. In: Clutton-Brock TH (ed) Reproductive success. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp 403–418Google Scholar
  5. Bercovitch FB (1983) Time budgets and consortships in olive baboonsPapio anubis. Folia Primatol 41:180–190Google Scholar
  6. Bercovitch FB (1987) Reproductive success in male savanna baboons. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 21:163–172Google Scholar
  7. Bercovitch FB, Rodriguez JF (1993) Testis size, epididymis weight, and sperm competition in rhesus macaques. Am J Primatol 30:163–168Google Scholar
  8. Bielert C, Busse C (1983) Influences of ovarian hormones on the food intake and feeding of captive and wild female chacma baboonsPapio ursinus. Physiol Behav 30:103–111Google Scholar
  9. Boinski S (1987) Birth synchrony in squirrel monkeys (Saimiri oerstedi). Behav Ecol Sociobiol 21:393–400Google Scholar
  10. Bowman LA, Dilley SR, Keverne EB (1978) Supppression of oestrogen-induced LH surges by social subordination in talapoin monkeys. Nature 275:56–59Google Scholar
  11. Caljan VG, Meisvili NV, Dathe R (1991) Dominance rank and reproduction in female hamadryas baboons. Primate Rep 29:35–40Google Scholar
  12. Colmenares F, Gomendio M (1988) Changes in female reproductive condition following male take-overs in a colony of hamadryas and hybrid baboons. Folia Primatol 50:157–174Google Scholar
  13. Dixson AF (1983) Observation on the evolution and behavioral significance of “sexual skin” in female primates. Adv Stud Behav 13:63–106Google Scholar
  14. Dunbar RIM (1979) Population demography, social organization and mating strategies. In: Bernstein I, Smith EO (eds) Primate ecology and human evolution. Garland STPM, New York, pp 65–88Google Scholar
  15. Dunbar RIM (1984) Reproductive decisions. An economic analysis of gelada baboons social strategies. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  16. Dunbar RIM (1986) The social ecology of gelada baboons. In: Rubenstein DI, Wrangham RW (eds) Ecological aspects of social evolution. Birds and mammals. Princeton University Press, Princeton, pp 332–351Google Scholar
  17. Dunbar RIM (1988) Primate social systems. Cornell University Press, IthacaGoogle Scholar
  18. Dunbar RIM, Sharman M (1983) Female competition for access to male affects birth rate in baboons. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 13:157–159Google Scholar
  19. Fairbanks LA, McGuire MT (1984) Determinants of fecundity and reproductive success in captive vervet monkeys. Am J Primatol 7:27–38Google Scholar
  20. French JA, Stribley JA (1987) Synchronization of ovarian cycles within and between social groups in golden lion tamarins (Leontopithecus rosalia). Am J Primatol 12:469–478Google Scholar
  21. Gillman J, Gilbert C (1946) The reproductive cycle of the chacma baboon with special reference to the problems of menstrual irregularities as asssed by the behavior of the sex skin. S Afr J Med Sci 11 Biol Suppl:1–54Google Scholar
  22. Gore MA (1991) A comparative study of the relationships and behaviours in a female and a non-female bonded social system. In: Ehara A, Kimura T, Takenaka O, Iwamoto M (eds) Primatology today. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 189–191Google Scholar
  23. Gore MA (1994) Dyadic and triadic aggression and assertiveness in adult female rhesus monkeys,Macaca mulatta, and hamadryas baboons,Papio hamadryas. Anim Behav 48 (in press)Google Scholar
  24. Graham CA, McGrew WC (1980) Menstrual synchrony in female undergraduates living on a coeducational campus. Psychoneuroendocrinology 5:345–352Google Scholar
  25. Harcourt AH (1989) Environment, competition and reproductive performance of female monkeys. Trends Ecol Evol 4:101–105Google Scholar
  26. Harcourt AH, Harvey PH, Larson SG, Short RV (1981) Testis weight, body weight and breeding system in primates. Nature 293:55–57Google Scholar
  27. Hausfater G (1975) Dominance and reproduction in baboonsPapio cynocephalus (Contrib Primatol 7). Karger, BaselGoogle Scholar
  28. Hendrickx AG, Kraemer DC (1969) Observations on the menstrual cycle, optimal mating time and pre-implantation embryos of the baboon,Papio anubis andPapio cynocephalus. J Reprod Fert Suppl 6:119–128Google Scholar
  29. Hrdy SB (1986) Sources of variance in the reproductive success of female primates. Probl Attual Sci Cult 259:192–203Google Scholar
  30. Jolly A (1967) Breeding synchrony in wildLemur catta. In: Altmann SA (ed) Social communication among primates. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp 3–13Google Scholar
  31. Kaumanns W, Rohrhuber B, Zinner D (1989) Reproductive parameters in a newly established colony of hamadryas baboonsPapio hamadryas. Primate Rep 24:25–33Google Scholar
  32. Kavanagh M (1983) Birth seasonality inCercopithecus aethiops. A social advantage from synchrony? In: Seth PK (ed) Perspectives in primate biology. Today and Tomorrow's, New Delhi, pp 89–98Google Scholar
  33. Keverne EB (1987) Processing of environmental stimuli and primate reproduction. J Zool 213:395–408Google Scholar
  34. Kiltie RA (1982) On the significance of menstrual synchrony in closely associated women. Am Nat 119:414–419Google Scholar
  35. Kinsky M (1960) Quantitative Untersuchungen an äthiopischen Saugetieren. Anat Anz 108:65–82Google Scholar
  36. Knowlton N (1979) Reproductive synchrony, parental investment, and the evolutionary dynamics of sexual selection. Anim Behav 27:1022–1033Google Scholar
  37. Kummer H (1956) Rangkriterien bei Mantelpavianen. Der Rang adulter Weibchen im Sozialverhalten, den Individualdistanzen und im Schlaf. Rev Suisse Zool 63:288–297Google Scholar
  38. Kummer H (1968) Social organization of hamadryas baboons. A field study. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  39. Küster J, Paul A (1984) Female reproductive characteristics in semifree-ranging barbary macaquesMacaca sylvanus. Folia Primatol 43:69–83Google Scholar
  40. Lapin BA, Krilova R, Cherkovich GM, Asanov NS (1979) Observations from Sukhumi. In: Bowden DM (ed) Aging in nonhuman primates. Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, pp 14–37Google Scholar
  41. Lee PC (1987) Nutrition, fertility and maternal investment in primates. J Zool 213:409–422Google Scholar
  42. Lindburg DG (1987) Seasonality of reproduction in primates. In: Mitchell G, Erwin J (eds) Comparative primate biology, vol 2, part B, behavior, cognition, and motivation. Alan R. Liss, New York, pp 167–218Google Scholar
  43. Loy J, Loy K (1977) Sexual harassment among captive patas monkeysErythrocebus patas. Primates 18:691–699Google Scholar
  44. Michael RP, Zumpe D (1978) Potency in male rhesus monkeys: effects of continuously receptive females. Science 200:451–452Google Scholar
  45. Michael RP, Zumpe D (1988) Determinants of behavioral rhythmicity during artificial menstrual cycles in rhesus monkeysMacaca mulatta. Am J Primatol 15:157–170Google Scholar
  46. Møller AP (1988) Ejaculate quality, testes size and sperm competition in primates. J Human Evol 17:479–488Google Scholar
  47. Pereira ME (1991) Asynchrony within estrous synchrony among ringtailed lemurs (Primates: Lemuridae). Physiol Behav 49:47–52Google Scholar
  48. Pfeiffer G (1985) Lautrepertoire and vokale Kommunikation beim MantelpavianPapio hamadryas. Ph D thesis, University GöttingenGoogle Scholar
  49. Pope VZ, Pope CE, Beck LR (1983) A 4-year summary of the nonsurgical recovery of baboon embryos: a report on 498 eggs. Am J Primatol 5:357–364Google Scholar
  50. Ridley M (1986) The number of males in a primate troop. Anim Behav 34:1848–1858Google Scholar
  51. Rohrhuber B (1987) Soziale Strukturen einer Mantelpaviankolonie als Milieu fur Kindestötungen. Diploma thesis, University Göttingen, Institute of AnthropologyGoogle Scholar
  52. Rowell TE (1969) Intra-sexual behaviour and female reproductive cycles of baboonsPapio anubis. Anim Behav 17:159–167Google Scholar
  53. Schlinske J (1986) Interaktionen adulter Mannchen mit Kindern and Juvenilen in einer Kolonie von Mantelpavianen. Diploma thesis, University G6ttingen, Institute of AnthropologyGoogle Scholar
  54. Schwibbe M, Zinner D, Klensang H (1992) Factors and effects of the synchronisation of the reproductive cycle of hamadryas baboonsPapio hamadryas (Abstracts). Congr Int Primatol Soc Strasbourg 14:315Google Scholar
  55. Shaikh AA, Celaya CL, Gomez I, Shaikh SA (1982) Temporal relationship of hormonal peaks to ovulation and sex skin deturgescence in the baboon. Primates 23:444–452Google Scholar
  56. Sigg H (1980) Differentiation of female positions in hamadryas one-male units. Z Tierpsychol 53:265–302Google Scholar
  57. Sigg H, Stolba A, Abegglen JJ, Dasser V (1982) Life history of hamadryas baboons: Physical development, infant mortality, reproductive parameters and family relationships. Primates 23:473–487Google Scholar
  58. Small MF (1988) Female primate sexual behavior and conception. Are there really sperm to spare? Current Anthropol 29:81–99Google Scholar
  59. Smuts BB (1987) Sexual competition and mate choice. In: Smuts BB, Cheney DL, Seyfarth RM, Wrangham RW, Struhsaker TT (eds) Primate societies. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp 385–399Google Scholar
  60. Smuts B, Nicolson N (1989) Reproduction in wild female olive baboons. Am J Primatol 19:229–246Google Scholar
  61. Sommer V (1989) Sexual harassment in langur monkeysPresbytis entellus: competition for ova, sperm, and nurture? Ethology 80:205–217Google Scholar
  62. Sommer V, Srivastava A, Borries C (1992) Cycles, sexuality, and conception in free-ranging langursPresbytis entellus. Am J Primatol 28:1–27Google Scholar
  63. Stammbach E (1978) On social differentiation in groups of captive in female hamadryas baboons. Behaviour 67:322–328Google Scholar
  64. Strum SC, Western JD (1982) Variations in fecundity with age and environment in olive baboons. Am J Primatol 3:61–76Google Scholar
  65. Vervaecke H, Dunbar RIM, Elsacker L van, Verheyen R (1992) Interactions with and spatial proximity to the males in relation to rank of captive female adult hamadryas baboonsPapio hamadryas. Acta Zool Pathol Antverp 82:61–77Google Scholar
  66. Wallis J (1985) Synchrony of estrous swelling in captive group-living chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Int J Primatol 6:335–350Google Scholar
  67. Wasser SK, Starling AK (1988) Proximate and ultimate causes of reproductive suppression among female yellow baboons at Mikumi National Park, Tanzania. Am J Primatol 16:97–121Google Scholar
  68. Watts DP (1990) Mountain gorilla life histories, reproductive competition, and sociosexual behavior and some implications for captive husbandry. Zoo Biol 9:185–200Google Scholar
  69. Wildt DE, Doyle LL, Stone SC, Harrison RM (1977) Correlation of perineal swelling with serum ovarian hormone levels, vaginal cytology, and ovarian follicular development during the baboon reproductive cycle. Primates 18:261–270Google Scholar
  70. Wilson EO (1975) Sociobiology: the new synthesis. Belknap Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  71. Zinnerd (1993) Nahrungskonkurrenz bei Mantelpavianen. Eine experimentelle Studie (Ph D thesis, University Göttingen). Shaker, AachenGoogle Scholar
  72. Zinner D, Kaumanns W, Rohrhuber B (1993) Infant mortality in a hamadryas baboon colony. Primate Rep 36:97–113Google Scholar
  73. Zuckerman S, Parkes AS (1930) The oestrous cycle of the hamadryas baboon. J Physiol 69:31Google Scholar
  74. Zuckerman S, Parkes AS (1939) Observations on secondary sexual characters in monkeys. J Endocrinol 1:430–439Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dietmar Zinner
    • 1
  • Michael H. Schwibbe
    • 1
  • Werner Kaumanns
    • 1
  1. 1.Deutsches PrimatenzentrumGöttingenGermany

Personalised recommendations