The ecology of motherhood: the structuring of lactation costs by chacma baboons

Barrett, L., Halliday, J. and Henzi, S.P. (2006) The ecology of motherhood: the structuring of lactation costs by chacma baboons. Journal of Animal Ecology, 75(4), pp. 875-886. (doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2656.2006.01105.x)

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Abstract

1. Data from a long-term study of Papio hamadryas ursinus (L.) in the De Hoop Nature Reserve, Western Cape, South Africa, were used to test the assumptions and predictions of Altmann’s model of maternal time budgets.

2. Female baboons’ feeding time was below model predictions, and there was no evidence for a consistent increase in feeding time with infant age. In addition, female feeding time was not significantly higher than observed baseline feeding times for nonlactating females.

3. Female baboons reduced activity levels in the first few months post-partum, as reflected in significant increases in resting time, and there was some indication that females lost body mass over the course of lactation. When feeding demand was high, females sacrificed social time, and conserved resting time.

4. Females increased vigilance levels during the first 4 months of infant life and were more vigilant overall during lactation than when nonlactating. There was a negative relationship between feeding time and vigilance, but a positive relationship between resting time and vigilance.

5. Female baboons at De Hoop appear to cope with the energetic costs of lactation by reducing activity levels, although this cannot compensate completely for increased ener- getic costs. This may not be so much an ‘energy-sparing’ strategy as a response to threats presented by infanticidal males in this population. Females therefore trade-off feeding time against vigilance.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Halliday, Dr Jo
Authors: Barrett, L., Halliday, J., and Henzi, S.P.
Subjects:Q Science > Q Science (General)
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Journal of Animal Ecology
ISSN:0021-8790
Published Online:05 June 2006

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