Abstract # 231:

Scheduled for Saturday, August 19, 2006 02:00 PM-02:15 PM: Session 22 (Regency East #1) Oral Presentation

Investigating the proximate causes of allomothering in Saimiri$

L. E. Williams1 and A. Wright2
1Univ. of South Alabama, Dept. of Comparative Medicine, 307 University Blvd., MSB 992, Mobile, AL 36688, USA, 2University of Louisiana at Lafayette-New Iberia Research Center
     Allomaternal behavior is well documented among many primate species. Bolivian squirrel monkey infants can spend as much as 30% of their time being cared for by allomothers buring the first 3 months of life. This research investigates the relationships between dams and allomathers in Peruvian (Saimiri boliviensis peruviensis) and Guyanese (Saimiri sciureus sciurues) squirrel monkeys. Observational data was collected on 23 subject females at the Center for Neotropical Primate Research and Resources. Instantaneous scans were used to record huddling and proximity data during a five month period prior to each female delivering their infant to determine the social partners for each subject. Potential allomothers were also classified as kin or non-kin. After delivery focal animal sessions were conducted on the infants to determine from whom they received allomaternal care. Potential allomothers were also classified as kin or non-kin. Chi-square analyses indicated that animals that spend more time in proximity prior to delivery of the infant (X2=44.9, p<0.01) or were older siblings of the infant (X2=24.9, p<0.01) allomothered the infants significantly more than expected. Huddling prior to infant delivery did not influence allomaternal care. Although huddling partners were non found to be a factor, these research suggests that social cliques and kinship do in fact have an effect on allomaternal behavior. Supported by NIH grant P40RR001254