Abstract # 5958 Poster # 150:

Scheduled for Sunday, September 14, 2014 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 22 (Decatur B) Poster Presentation


AN EXAMINATION OF TWIN BIRTHS IN A CAPTIVE COLONY OF GARNETT'S BUSHBABIES (OTOLEMUR GARNETTII)

S. Watson1,2, B. Fontenot2, T. Baker2, J. Christopher2 and K. Gamble2
1118 College Drive, Petal 39465, USA, 2University of Southern Mississippi
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     In captive situations resources are consistently plentiful, whereas in the wild resources wax and wane. When food is abundant and threats (e.g., disease, predation) are low, many species produce greater numbers of offspring. Although Garnett’s bushbabies (Otolemur garnettii) rarely produce twins in the natural environment, we predicted that captive situations would be conducive to an increased number of twin births. Moreover, because female offspring are often considered the “biologically expensive” sex, we predicted production of more female offspring than would be expected by chance. To test these hypotheses, we examined birth records of a captive colony of Garnett’s bushbabies from 1988 until present. Preliminary examination of the birth records indicated that of 246 infants born, 120, or 49%, were the product of twin births. Of 115 male births, 39% (n=45) resulted from a twin birth, as did 40 (57%) of the 70 females born. Moreover, the number of females resulting from twin births was significantly higher than that of males, z = 2.39, p = .016. These results support the assumption that factors that influence reproduction in the wild also influence reproduction in captivity. In addition, it appears that these environmental influences may play a role in the production of multiple births, even among species that typically yield only a single offspring.