Hormone profiles and reproductive characteristics in wild female Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata)

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Abstract

In this study we investigated the reproductive characteristics of wild female Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata fuscata) in 2 nonconsecutive years using noninvasive methods to monitor physiological events. We detected ovulation dates and ascertained conceptions from fecal hormone profiles. First ovulations occurred from middle October to early November in 1997, and from middle to late November in 1999. Most females conceived during their first ovarian cycle. On average, postconception bleeding occurred 18.4 days after ovulation, and menstruation occurred 13.7 days after ovulation. The average gestation length was 176.3 days. The average degree of facial redness and the percentage of females that copulated synchronously changed across the ovarian cycle and peaked in the periovulatory period. Although prolonged periods of postconception copulation have been reported in previous studies, they did not occur in this study, which suggests that such behavior may not be a species-typical characteristic. Female fertility varied between the 2 years. The copulation rates of females with no infant <1 year of age were 100% (14/14) in 1997 and 45.5% (5/11) in 1999. The ovulation rates of the female subjects that we chose for hormonal assays were 100% (9/9) in 1997 and 50.0% (3/6) in 1999. Th conception rates of these selected females were 100% (9/9) in 1997 and 16.7% (1/6) in 1999. The birth rates (the number of females that delivered divided by the total number of adult females in the troop) were 73.3% (11/15) in 1998 and 6.7% (1/15) in 2000. The modified birth rates (the number of females that delivered /the number of adult females with no infant <1 year of age) × 100 were 78.6% (11/14) in 1998 and 9.1% (1/11) in 2000. Am. J. Primatol. 64:367–375, 2004. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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