, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 163–197 | Cite as

Infanticide among free-ranging langurs (Presbytis entellus) at jodhpur (Rajasthan/India): Recent observations and a reconsideration of hypotheses

  • Volker Sommer


Considerable disagreement characterizes the debate concerning frequency, causation, and function of infanticide in connection with adult male replacements in bisexual one-male troops of hanuman langurs (Presbytis entellus). Detailed observations are presented about two noninfanticidal and three infanticidal male changes including six eye-witness and five presumed cases of infanticide within three langur troops during a long-term study at Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India. The results do not support any explanatory hypotheses focussing on social crowding, regulation of population density, social stress, sexual frustration, incest avoidance, or social bonding, but are in general though not total agreement with the reproductive advantage hypothesis: mainly unrelated infants were killed (one possible exception), the infanticidal male generally sired the subsequent offspring (one exception), and the mean interbirth interval subsequent to infanticide is by 2.1 months shortened. Likewise, several cases of stress induced abortions occurred. It is demonstrated that postconception estrous behaviour is by no means a female counterstrategy to infanticide in order to confuse males concerning the issue of paternity, since an infanticidal male did not spare the subsequent offspring of mothers who copulated with him during pregnancy and pregnant females did not discriminate between fathers and non-fathers.

Key Words

Presbytis entellus Infanticide Reproductive strategies 


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Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Volker Sommer
    • 1
  1. 1.Universität GöttingenGermany

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