Climate and reproductive seasonality in two free-ranging island populations of rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatto)

Shawn M. Lehman, Linda L. Taylor, Stephen Phillip Easley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

We gathered data over a 3-year period (1988-1990) on two free-ranging, island populations of rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta)to test hypotheses concerning birth seasonal asynchrony and the relationship between climate and reproductive seasonality. Rhesus macaques from Kashmir, India, were translocated to Key Lois in 1973 and from Key Lois to Raccoon Key in 1978. Both sites are low-lying mangrove islands in the Florida Keys. Floral diversity and abundance are greater on Raccoon Key than on Key Lois. Average maximal and minimal temperatures per month did not vary significantly between Raccoon Key and Key Lois over the 3-year period. Average minimal temperatures per month on Key Lois, but not Raccoon Key, varied significantly between years. There were no significant variations in either the amount or the dates of rainfall over the 3-year period for the study area. A combined total of 1524 births was recorded for Raccoon Key (N = 879) and Key Lois (N =645). The birth season on Raccoon Key began 6 weeks earlier than on Key Lois. Births were associated with warmer, rainier months on both islands. Conceptions were associated with cooler, drier months at both study sites. No significant correlations were found between the date of the onset of the summer rains and either median conception or median birth dates on Raccoon Key or Key Lois. Our results do not substantiate the hypothesis that the onset of rainfall, within the temporal period set by photoperiod, regulates seasonal reproduction in rhesus macaques. We suggest that reproductive seasonality in the study populations may be influenced by a variety of factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-128
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Primatology
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 1994

Keywords

  • Macaca mulatta
  • birth season asynchrony
  • conception
  • rainfall
  • temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology

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