Abstract # 66:

Scheduled for Saturday, September 17, 2011 05:00 PM-05:15 PM: Session 13 (Meeting Room 408) Oral Presentation


M. L. Power1,3, J. E. Behler1, S. Evans2 and L. E. Williams4
1Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Nutrition Laboratory, Conservation Ecology Center, National Zoological Park, Washington, DC 20013, USA, 2The DuMond Conservancy for Primates and Tropical Forests, Inc, 3American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 4Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine and Research

Lactation is a key determinant of infant growth and maternal reproductive cost. Owl monkeys (genus Aotus) are nocturnal New World monkeys that inhabit a wide range of forest types, from tropical to dry, and at a variety of elevations. In this study we assayed milk collected from 28 owl monkeys housed at the Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine and Research, Bastrop, Texas. One sample from each female was assayed for fat, sugar and protein; gross energy content (GE) was calculated from these data. Samples were collected between one and four months post partum. The data were compared to published values for laboratory-housed Callithrix, Cebus and Saimiri. Among Aotus samples GE did not vary with infant age, but did vary among females (range 0.64 - 1.20 kcal/g). Aotus milk was higher in fat, and hence GE, than Callithrix milk (0.90±0.03 kcal/g versus 0.76±0.04 kcal/g; F=3.113, p=0.047); but did not differ from the other two species. Values for milk sugar did not differ among the four species. The mg of protein per kcal in Aotus milk was significantly lower than values for Callithrix and Saimiri (F=11.536, p<0.05), but not different than for Cebus. Protein content of milk expressed on a per-energy basis has been associated with growth rate in primates suggesting that Aotus and Cebus infants might have slower growth rates than do Callithrix or Saimiri infants.