Abstract # 67:

Scheduled for Saturday, September 13, 2014 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 11 (Decatur B) Poster Presentation


SPEED OF SKIN AND COAT COLOR CHANGES INDICATE MATERNAL EFFECTS ON INFANT DEVELOPMENT IN LANGURS (SEMNOPITHECUS SCHISTACEUS)

A. Koenig and C. Borries
Department of Anthropology and Interdepartmental Doctoral Program in Anthropological Sciences, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-4364, USA
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     Growth processes in mammals are subject to nutrient availability. It is therefore likely that especially early infant development reflects maternal condition which depends on ecological (food availability) and social factors (e.g., dominance rank). Here we investigate the effects of maternal rank and seasonal fluctuations in food availability on the speed of infant development in Nepal Gray langurs (Semnopithecus schistaceus) using color changes as proxies. Infant Gray langurs are born with a pink skin and black coat, which gradually assumes adult coloration (black skin, grey coat). We predicted that infants of high ranking mothers and those born later in the season (higher food availability) develop and, thus, change color faster. Data were collected between 1992 and 1994 on 14 infants in two groups (P, O) assessing color status weekly or biweekly. Skin color changes were completed within 8 weeks while coat color changes took more than 6 months. In group P, in which maternal condition depended on dominance rank, speed of development was significantly affected by maternal rank (multiple MWU-tests, ps<0.05). Seasonal (ps<0.05) but no rank effects (ps>0.1) were found in group O. These results suggest maternal effects mediated by rank and food availability. Future studies will show if these effects translate into differential reproductive success among females. Data collection supported by the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation and the German Research Council.