Birth seasonality of Cebus apella (Platyrrhini, Cebidae) in Brazilian zoos along a latitudinal gradient

Authors

  • Júlio César Bicca-Marques,

    Corresponding author
    1. Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul, Faculdade de Biociências, Porto Alegre, Brasil
    • Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul, Faculdade de Biociências, Av. Ipiranga 6681 Pd. 12A, Porto Alegre, RS 90619-900, Brasil
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  • Daniela Fichtner Gomes

    1. Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul, Faculdade de Biociências, Porto Alegre, Brasil
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Abstract

Birth seasonality in wild neotropical primates has been suggested to increase with latitude as a response to a stronger divergence in high-quality food availability across the year, and a higher between-year predictability at higher latitudes related to temporal differences in photoperiod. In captivity, however, monkeys are fed foods of similar quality throughout the year, and this consistency of diet should have a releasing effect on the need for birth seasonality. In this paper, we test whether 1) brown capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) breed seasonally in captivity, and 2) given the consistency of diet in this setting, differences in latitude are reflected in the temporal pattern of birth distribution across the year. Data on the distribution of birth records of C. apella at Brazilian zoos located within three latitudinal zones (Equator ⊣ 8°S, 16° ⊣ 24°S, and 24° ⊣ 32°S) are compared. Captive C. apella showed a birth peak from October to February, despite the consistent provision of food in this setting. In addition, there were no differences in the pattern of birth distribution among the latitudinal zones, which lends no support to the prediction that captive C. apella birth seasonality would increase with latitude. We suggest that if this species is not sensitive to subtle differences in photoperiod, other environmental cues may trigger the onset of reproduction at lower latitudes. Am. J. Primatol. 65:141–147, 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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