Home-range characteristics and the influence of seasonality on female reproduction in white-handed gibbons (Hylobates lar) at Khao Yai National Park, Thailand

Authors

  • Tommaso Savini,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Environmental Science and Management, Faculty of Science, University of Liege, Liege B-4020, Belgium
    2. Department of Primatology, Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig 04103, Germany
    3. King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi, School of Bioresources and Technology, Conservation Ecology Program, Bangkok, Thailand
    • King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi, Conservation Ecology, School of Bioresources and Technology, 83 Moo 8 Thakham, Bangkhuntien, Bangkok 10150, Thailand
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  • Christophe Boesch,

    1. Department of Primatology, Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig 04103, Germany
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  • Ulrich H. Reichard

    1. Department of Primatology, Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig 04103, Germany
    2. Department of Anthropology, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale, IL 62901
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Abstract

A three-year (2001–2003) study was carried out on the home range characteristics of seven wild white-handed gibbon (Hylobates lar) groups focusing on the spatio-temporal distribution of food resources at Khao Yai National Park in northeastern Thailand. These results were combined with 23 years (1980–2003) of reproductive performance data on seven females from the same focal groups. Reproductive performance was equal among females with regard to birth, weaning and maturation ratios, and independent of variation in food availability. Offspring mortality, however, was significantly positively correlated with home-range size. In addition, there was an increase in offspring mortality just after weaning, suggesting that the increase in the daily distance traveled by juveniles contributed to this mortality. Conceptions clustered during the first half of the year when food production was at its peak, which presumably allowed females to accumulate sufficient body reserves to resume ovarian cycling. Our results place Khao Yai gibbons closer to Cercopithecidae than great apes in terms of the temporal pattern of reproductive events, though gestation, lactation, inter-birth interval, and offspring maturation are considerably longer in gibbons, placing them closer to the other apes. Our findings underline the unique phylogenetic position of these small-bodied apes in terms of reproductive patterns in primates. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2008. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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