Reproductive Efficiency of Captive Chinese- and Indian-Origin Rhesus Macaque (Macaca mulatta) Females


  • Contract grant sponsor: NIH; Contract grant number: RR000164.

Correspondence to: H. Michael Kubisch, Tulane National Primate Research Center, 18703 Three Rivers Road, Covington, LA 70433.


Reproductive and survival records (n = 2,913) from 313 Chinese-origin and 365 Indian-derived rhesus macaques at the Tulane National Primate Research Center (TNPRC) spanning three generations were studied. Least-squares analysis of variance procedures were used to compare reproductive and infant survival traits while proportional hazards regression procedures were used to study female age at death, number of infants born per female, and time from last birth to death. Chinese females were older at first parturition than Indian females because they were older when placed with males, but the two subspecies had similar first postpartum birth interval (1st PPBI) and lifetime postpartum birth interval (LPPBI). Females that gave birth to stillborn infants had shorter first postpartum birth intervals (1st PPBI) than females giving birth to live infants. Postpartum birth intervals decreased in females from age 3 to 12 but then increased again with advancing age. Chinese infants had a greater survival rate than Indian infants at 30 days, 6 months, and 1 year of age. Five hundred and forty-three females (80.01%) had uncensored, or true records for age at death, number of infants born per female, and time from the birth until death whereas 135 females (19.91%) had censored records for these traits. Low- and high-uncensored observations for age at death were 3 and 26 years for Chinese, and 3 and 23 years for Indian females. Uncensored number of infants born per female ranged from 1 to 15 for Chinese females and 1 to 18 for Indian females. Each of these traits was significantly influenced by the origin × generation interaction in the proportional hazards regression analyses, indicating that probabilities associated with age at death, number of infants born per female, and time from last birth to death for Chinese and Indian females did not rank the same across generations.