Behavioural Changes in Parenting Female Mantled Howler Monkeys (Alouatta palliata)

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Vol: 20, Issue: 1

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Cancelliere, Emma
activity budgets; resting; feeding; behaviour; ecology; infant; mother-infant; social interaction; vigilance; locomotion; Biological and Physical Anthropology
article description
Parenting in mantled howler monkeys (Alouatta palliata) requires a new set of energetic and behavioural demands. Because of constraints presented by the infant, as well as the increased energy requirements associated with mothering, parenting females need to change their activity patterns to ensure the successful upbringing of their offspring. This study of wild mantled howler monkeys was conducted to examine differences in activity between parenting and non-parenting adult females. Twenty two hours of continuous sampling on focal individuals was collected over the course of ten days in August at a study site in Nicaragua. It was found that the two groups do differ in their activity patterns: parenting females spent a larger percent of their time resting, feeding and interacting, but a lower percent of their time travelling when compared to non-parenting females. Further, it was found that parenting females engaged in scanning behaviours more frequently, and engaged in bridging (a locomotor behaviour) less frequently. These results suggest that parenting female mantled howler monkeys adopt an energy-minimizing activity pattern wherein the mothers compensate for their increased energetic requirements by only slightly increasing their food intake and instead drastically increasing the amount of time spent resting.