Abstract # 153:

Scheduled for Sunday, September 20, 2009 06:30 PM-09:00 PM: Session 14 (Mission Bay Ballroom CDE) Poster Presentation


GROWING INDEPENDENCE OF A WILD WHITE-FACED SAKI INFANT (PITHECIA PITHECIA), BROWNSBERG NATURE PARK, SURINAME

C. F. Talbot1,2 and M. A. Norconk3
1Michale E Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine and Research, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Bastrop, TX, USA, 2Georgia State University, 3Department of Anthropology, Kent State University, 228 Lowry Hall, Kent, OH, 44242, USA
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Little is known about the transition to locomotor in wild white-faced sakis since few wild groups are habituated. We documented time off the mother’s back, mean distance from the mother, frequency of food transfers, and nursing and playing frequencies for a saki infant male residing in a well-habituated social group at Brownsberg Nature Park in Suriname. Data were collected from approximately 8 to 20 weeks of age using instantaneous scan samples collected at 10-minute intervals on 22 sample days from January to April, 2007 [n=876 scans]. The infant was on the mother’s back during 82% of samples at 8 weeks of age decreasing to 42% of daily samples by week 14, and 0 by 18 weeks of age. Proximity between infant and mother averaged 0.5 m or less until 3.5 months of age when distance from mother began to increase sharply. Food transfers decreased from 25% to 11% during the study but continued for tough foods (e.g., Fabaceae and Curcurbitaceae). Intermittent nipple contact continued to the end of the study and social play began at 14-15 weeks of age. Compared to closely- related bearded sakis, white-faced saki infants spend less time on mother’s back and gain independence faster. Traveling one-half to one-third the distance of bearded sakis/day, white-faced saki infants may be able to experiment with locomotor independence at a relatively young age.