The 89th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2020)

Female fertility rates between subspecies of captive rhesus macaques


1Tulane National Primate Research Center, Tulane University, 2Department of Anthropology, Kent State University

April 18, 2020 , Platinum Ballroom Add to calendar

Rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) have been denoted as "weed species" implying that this species, naturally found in secondary riverine forests, can survive in a multitude of ecological niches with very high fertility rates. Previous research comparing the female fertility rates among macaque species has shown that the sinica group was the most prolific. The current study focuses on two of the subspecies of captive M. mulatta: Indian-derived and Chinese-derived at the Tulane National Primate Research Center (TNPRC) in southeastern Louisiana to determine whether the average number of infants produced by a female (GRR) is consistent with previous findings.

The records of 840 Indian-derived and 217 Chinese-derived females spanning a 30-year period were analyzed to establish whether they had given birth while belonging to a specific age group. All of these animals were born at the TNPRC. Results show that the GRR is 7.59 for Indian-derived and 4.48 for Chinese-derived indicating that Indian-derived M. mulatta have the highest female fertility not only of any macaque but of any higher primate. The results of this study are consistent with the very high female fertility rates found in the wild M. mulatta population in Florida.

Slides/Poster (pdf)