Reproductive biology

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Saki (Pithecia) reproductive biology is variable. All species give birth to single offspring. Some species (P. pithecia and P. monachus) reproduce seasonally, while others (P. albicans) do not. Groups may have a single reproductive female (P. monachus) or more than one (P. pithecia). Adult coloration may develop in weeks (P. albicans), months (P. pithecia), or years (P. monachus). There is typically no paternal care, although fathers may groom infants. In some species, subadult and adult daughters may help. Offspring are independent at 6-7 months and are weaned at one year of age.

Chiropotes satanas gives birth in the dry season in Suriname and Venezuela. There are occasional copulations year-round with a peak from July to September, and gestation is 4.5-5.5 months. By two months, infants are carried ventrally, but begin a shift to dorsal carrying. Other group members groom infants. At three months, infants are always carried dorsally, and they exhibit some self-locomotion at rest. At six months, infants locomote independently for short distances, but are still carried dorsally for long trips. Infants are fully indepen dent at 10-13 months. Chiropotes albinasus does not breed seasonally, but may give birth in February-March or AugustSeptember. Adult females exhibit bright red labia during estrus.

In captivity, Cacajao mates promiscuously and has seasonal births of single offspring. Females show no external sign of estrus, and gestation length is unknown. Only mothers carry offspring, and infants are carried ventrally for three months, and then are carried dorsally. At 12 months, infants independently locomote but may still sleep with the mother. Suckling and sleeping on proximity to the mother may last two years. The birth season for wild Cacajao in Peru is December to March.

Callicebus also breeds seasonally and gives birth to a single offspring. These monkeys are unique among pitheciids in that males provide nearly all of the infant care. Male titis begin carrying infants within 48 hours of birth, and infants return to the mother only to nurse. Infants are carried until 4-6 months of age, and weaning occurs at this time. Offspring reach maturity at 3-4 years, at which time they abruptly leave the natal group. No aggression accompanies the departure.

A bald uakari (Cacajao calvus) in the trees of Brazil. (Photo by R. A. Mittermeier. Bruce Coleman, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

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Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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