Primates

, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 85–88

Grandmothers care for orphans in a provisioned troop of Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata)

Short Communication

Abstract

This study reports cases in which grandmothers and other closely related adult females cared for orphans in the Arashiyama E-troop, a provisioned troop of Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata). I observed the behavioral patterns of three orphans (aged 1, 2, and 3 years, respectively). The grandmothers cared for two orphans, while three other closely related adult females cared for the rest of the orphans whose grandmothers were absent. These observations differ from those of previous studies that reported that grandmothers were indifferent towards orphans. This intraspecific variation may be attributed to the demographic conditions of the troop in this study, which had only a few related nulliparous adult females, as a result of artificial birth control. In this group, adult females showed decreased fecundity and an increased interbirth interval as they received birth control treatment; thus, in the absence of their own dependent infants, these females may have invested time in the care of related orphans. Although caregiving by grandmothers is believed to be rare or insignificant in primates, this study suggests that grandmothers and other closely related adult females play an important role for orphans in troops with few related adult females.

Keywords

Orphans Caregiver Grandmother Intraspecific variation Japanese macaques 

References

  1. Agoramoorthy G, Rudran R (1992) Adoption in free-ranging red howler monkeys, Alouatta seniculus of Venezuela. Primates 33:551–555CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Altmann J (1974) Observational study of behaviour: sampling methods. Behaviour 49:227–265PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Berman CM (1982) The social development of an orphaned Rhesus infant on Cayo Santiago: male care, foster mother-orphan interaction and peer interaction. Am J Primatol 3:131–141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Fedigan LM, Pavelka MSM (2006) Reproductive cessation in female primates. In: Campbell C, Fuentes A, MacKinnon KC, Panger M, Bearder S (eds) Primates in perspective. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 437–447Google Scholar
  5. Hanya G, Matsubara M, Sugiura H, Hayakawa S, Goto S, Tanaka T, Noma N (2004) Mass mortality of Japanese macaques in a western coastal forest of Yakushima. Ecol Res 19:179–188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Hasegawa T, Hiraiwa M (1980) Social interactions of orphans observed in a free-ranging troop of Japanese monkeys. Folia Primatol 33:129–158PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Hiraiwa M (1981) Maternal and alloparental care in a troop of free-ranging Japanese monkeys. Primates 22:309–329CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Itani J (1959) Paternal care in the wild Japanese monkey, Macaca fuscata fuscata. Primates 2:61–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Koyama N, Tanaka Y, Huffman AM, Norikoshi K, Suzuki H (1992) Reproductive parameters of female Japanese macaques: thirty years data from the Arashiyama troops, Japan. Primates 33:33–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Mayer PJ (1982) Evolutionary advantage of the menopause. Hum Ecol 10:477–494CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Muroyama Y (1995) Developmental changes in mother-offspring grooming in Japanese macaques. Am J Primatol 37:57–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Spencer-Booth Y (1968) The behaviour of group companions towards rhesus monkey infants. Anim Behav 16:541–557PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Yamada K, Nakamichi M, Shizawa Y, Yasuda J, Imakawa S, Hinobayashi T, Minami T (2005) Grooming relationships of adolescent orphans in a free-ranging group of Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata) at Katsuyama: a comparison among orphans with sisters, orphans without sisters, and females with a surviving mother. Primates 46:145–150PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre and Springer 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cognitive and Behavioral Science, Graduate School of Arts and SciencesThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan

Personalised recommendations