Reproductive endocrinology of wild female woolly monkeys (Lagothrix lagotricha poeppigii) during puberty, ovarian cyclicity, and pregnancy

Laura A. Abondano, Toni E. Ziegler, Anthony Di Fiore

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Behavioral observations can provide clues about female reproductive status. However, the study of the endocrine dynamics that underlie processes such as puberty, ovulation, conception, and gestation, may help increase our understanding of female reproductive biology. We used noninvasive methods to study female reproductive endocrinology in wild woolly monkeys (genus Lagothrix). We extracted ovarian steroid hormones from fecal samples collected non-invasively to examine changes in the concentrations of progesterone and estrogen metabolites (pregnanediol-3-glucuronide and estrone-3-glucuronide, respectively) during periods of female puberty, ovarian cyclicity, and pregnancy. The two subadult females in our study showed significant increases in ovarian hormone concentrations before disappearing and presumably dispersing, suggesting that they might reach the onset of puberty before emigrating from their natal groups. Ovarian cycle length in adult females was, on average, ~22 days (N = 21). Of the 10 cycling females, five conceived and four gave birth to offspring, with an average gestation period of ~214 days, but the infant born to the female with the shortest estimated gestation period (182 days) disappeared within a month after parturition. The fact that less than half of all cycling females conceived, and that only three out of five of those females gave birth to offspring that survived past the first month, suggests that reproduction is energetically costly for female woolly monkeys. Ovarian cycle length and gestation period among woolly monkeys are similar to those in their closest relatives, spider monkeys and muriquis suggesting that reproductive physiology may be highly conserved among females within the Tribe Atelini.

Idioma originalInglés
Número de artículoe23303
PublicaciónAmerican Journal of Primatology
EstadoPublicada - jun. 2022


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