Abstract # 7960 Event # 198:

Scheduled for Monday, August 28, 2017 01:45 PM-02:00 PM: (National Ballroom Salon A) Oral Presentation


TWINNING AND EVIDENCE FOR HETEROPATERNITY IN RING-TAILED LEMURS (LEMUR CATTA) FROM ST. CATHERINES ISLAND, USA

J. A. Parga and S. Nansen
California State University-Los Angeles, Department of Anthropology, Los Angeles, CA 90032, USA
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     With the exception of a few taxonomic groups (e.g., callitrichids, ruffed lemurs), having more than one offspring per birth event is rare for most primates. In the ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta), although single-offspring births are the norm, twinning can occur under food-rich conditions. As such, twinning is a relatively common occurrence in captivity, but has also been noted in wild populations of this species. In this study, we evaluated the paternity of twins born to a food-provisioned but free-ranging population of ring-tailed lemurs on St. Catherines Island, USA across a four-year period (2010-2013). Females in this species can mate with multiple males while in estrus, often in close temporal succession, but the presence or absence of heteropaternity (twins having different sires) had heretofore not been evaluated in this species. Using multilocus microsatellite genotyping and paternity exclusion methods, we found that in the majority of cases (11 of 14 sets of twins), infants shared the same sire (binomial test: p = 0.022), but our data also revealed 3 cases of heteropaternity. Somewhat surprisingly, all 14 sets of twins were found to be dizygotic (fraternal), as evidenced by each individual in a twin pair having a unique multilocus microsatellite genotype. Because previous genetic data gathered on wild ring-tailed lemurs found evidence for identical twins, both monozygotic and dizygotic twinning have now been genetically confirmed in this species.