, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 305–314 | Cite as

Infant development and parental care in two species of sifakas

  • Bettina Grieser


This paper reports the results of a three-month field study on parental care and infant development in the diademed sifaka (Propithecus diadema edwardsi) in the primary rain-forest of south-eastern Madagascar. They are compared with a three-and-a-half-month study of captive white sifaka (Propithecus verreauxi coquereli) in the Duke University Primate Centre. Records were taken by means of focal animal and instantaneous sampling. In both species the mother was the primary carrier and caretaker; theP. verreauxi father carried the infant significantly more than did any animal other than the mother in theP. diadema group. The infantP. verreauxi spent less time off the mother than didP. diadema from week 4 through week 10. It is concluded thatP. verreauxi shows more non-maternal care thanP. diadema and also develops at a slower rate. The difference in the two species' habitats is discussed as a possible cause.

Key Words

Infant development Parental care Propithecus Reproductive costs Ecology 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Albignac, R., 1969. Elevage d'un jeune propitheque, lemurien folivore de Madagascar.Mammalia 33: 341–343.Google Scholar
  2. Altmann, J., 1974. Observational study of behaviour: sampling methods.Behavior, 49: 227–267.Google Scholar
  3. Box, H. O. B., 1975. A social development study of young monkeys (Callithrix jacchus) within a captive family group.Primates, 16: 419–435.Google Scholar
  4. ————, 1978. Social interactions in family groups of captive marmosets (Callithrix jacchus). In:The Biology and Conservation of the Callitrichidae,D. G. Kleiman (ed.), Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C., pp. 239–249.Google Scholar
  5. Dixson, A. F. &D. Fleming, 1981. Parental behaviour and infant development on owl monkeys (Aotus trivirgatus griseimembra).J. Zool. Lond., 194: 25–39.Google Scholar
  6. Dunbar, R. I. M., 1988.Primate Social Systems, Croom Helm, London & Sydney.Google Scholar
  7. Eaglen, R. H. &K. J. Boskoff, 1978. The birth and early development of a captive sifaka,Propithecus verreauxi coquereli.Folia Primatol., 30: 206–219.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Fragaszy, D. M., S. Schwartz, &D. Shimosaka, 1982. Longitudinal observations of care and development of infant titi (Callicebus moloch).Amer. J. Primatol., 2: 191–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Grieser, B., 1989. Infant development and biparental care inPropithecus verreauxi andPropithecus diadema, two Malagasy Prosimians. Unpubl. diploma thesis.Google Scholar
  10. Harrington, J. E., 1978. Development of behaviour inLemur macaco in the first nineteen weeks.Folia Primatol., 29: 107–128.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Heltne, P. G., D. C. Turner, &J. Wohlandler, 1973 Maternal and parental periods in the development of infantCallimico goeldii.Amer. J. Phys. Anthropol., 38: 455–459.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hoage, R. J., 1978. Parental care inLeontopithecus rosalia rosalia: Sex and age differences in carrying behaviour and the role of prior experience. In:The Biology and Conservation of the Callitrichidae,D. G. Kleiman (ed.), Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C., pp. 293–305.Google Scholar
  13. Ingram, J. C., 1977. Interactions between parents and infants, and the development of independence in the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus).Anim. Behav., 25: 811–827.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. ————, 1978. Parental-infant interactions in the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus). In:The Biology and Conservation of the Callitrichidae,D. G. Kleiman (ed.), Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C., pp. 281–291.Google Scholar
  15. IUCN/UNEP/WWF, 1987.Madagascar, An Environmental Profile, M. D. Jenkins (ed.), IUCN, Gland, Switzerland & Cambridge, U. K.Google Scholar
  16. Jolly, A., 1966.Lemur Behaviour, Chicago Univ. Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  17. Kleiman, D., 1977. Monogamy in Mammals.Quart. Rev. Biol., 52: 39–69.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Leutenegger, W., 1980. Monogamy in callitrichids: a consequence of phytelic dwarfism ?Int. J. Primatol., 1: 95–98.Google Scholar
  19. Lienert, G. A., 1975.Verteilungsfreie Methoden in der Statistik, Tafelband, Verlag Anton Hain, Meisenheim am Glan.Google Scholar
  20. ————, 1978.Verteilungsfreie Methoden in der Statistik, Band 11, Verlag Anton Hain, Meisenheim am Glan.Google Scholar
  21. Lloyd, L. E., E. E. McDonald, &E. W. Crampton, 1978.Fundamentals of Nutrition, W. H. Freeman, San Francisco.Google Scholar
  22. Millar, J. S., 1976. Adaptive features of mammalian reproduction.Evolution, 31: 370–386.Google Scholar
  23. Petter, J.-J., 1962. Ecological and behavioural studies of Madagascar lemurs in the field.Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci., 102: 267–281.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Petter-Rousseaux, A., 1962. Recherches sur la biologie de la reproduction des primates inferieurs.Mammalia, 26: 1–88. (Suppl. 1)Google Scholar
  25. Pook, A. G., 1978. A comparison between the reproduction and parental behaviour of the Goeldi's monkey (Callimico goeldii) and the true marmosets (Callitrichidae). In:Biology and Behaviour of Marmosets,H. Rothe,H. J. Wolters, &J. P. Hearn (eds.), Eigenverlag Rothe, Goettingen.Google Scholar
  26. Portmann, O. W., 1970. Nutritional requirements (NRC) of nonhuman primates. In:Feeding and Nutrition of Nonhuman Primates,R. S. Harris (ed.), Academic Press, New York, pp. 87–115.Google Scholar
  27. Richard, A. F., 1974. Patterns of mating inPropithecus verreauxi. In:Prosimian Biology,R. D. Martin,G. A. Doyle, &A. C. Walker (eds.), Duckworth, London, pp. 49–74.Google Scholar
  28. ————, 1976. Preliminary observations on the birth and development ofPropithecus verreauxi to the age of six months.Primates, 17: 357–366.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. ————, 1978.Behavioral Variation: Case Study of A Malagasy Prosimian, Bucknell Univ. Press, Lewisburg.Google Scholar
  30. ———— &R. Heimbuch, 1975. An analysis of the social behavior of three groups ofPropithecus verreauxi. In:Lemur Biology,I. Tattersall &R. W. Sussman (eds.), Plenum Press, New York & London, pp. 313–333.Google Scholar
  31. ———— &M. E. Nicoll, 1987. Female social dominance and basal metabolism in a Malagasy primate,Propithecus verreauxi.Amer. J. Primatol., 12(3): 309–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Siegel, S. &N. J. Castellan, 1988.Nonparametric Statistics (2nd ed.), McGraw-Hill, New York.Google Scholar
  33. Terborgh, J. &A. W. Goldizen, 1985. On the mating system of the cooperative breeding saddle-backed tamarin (Saguinus fuscicollis).Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol., 16: 293–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Trivers, R. L., 1972. Parental Investment and sexual selection. In:Sexual Selection and the Descent of Man 1871–1977,B. Campbell (ed.), Aldine, Chicago, pp. 136–179.Google Scholar
  35. Wright, P. C., 1984. Biparental care inAotus Trivirgatus andCallicebus moloch. In:Female Primates: Studies by Women Primatologists,M. F. Small (ed.), Alan R. Liss, New York, pp. 59–75.Google Scholar
  36. Young, A. L., A. F. Richard, &L. C. Aiello, 1990. Female dominance and maternal investment in strepsirhine primates.Amer. Naturalist, 135: 473–488.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bettina Grieser
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.University College LondonUK
  2. 2.C/O MUBFSFort PortalUganda

Personalised recommendations