Section 9
Chapter 8,667

Extended postpregnancy estrous cycles in female lion-tailed macaques

Clarke, A.S.; Harvey, N.C.; Lindburg, D.G.

American Journal of Primatology 31(4): 275-285


ISSN/ISBN: 0275-2565
Accession: 008666175

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Past studies of female primate reproduction have focused on regularly cycling females, and thus the reproductive characteristics of females in other reproductive states (e.g., pregnant or lactating) have rarely been investigated. In this study, data were collected on estrous swellings and sexual and proceptive behavior in six female lion-tailed macaques during recovery from lactational amenorrhea for the first three to five postpregnancy cycles. For these females, the length of the first lactational recovery swelling cycle averaged 81 days, nearly three times the length of cycles exhibited by nonparturient, isosexually housed females. Actual swelling durations were also nearly three times the length of those seen in nonlactating females, and occupied a larger proportion of the cycle. For most females, cycle duration and sexual and proceptive behavior declined progressively over successive cycles. The alpha female in each group accounted for the majority of copulations in the first three cycles, and this effect was pronounced in the first cycle. Extended postpregnancy cycles in this species may be related to female reproductive competition and/or a tactic to attract extra-group males.

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