Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Phys Anthropol. 2011 Apr;144(4):661-8. doi: 10.1002/ajpa.21475. Epub 2011 Feb 10.

Energetics during reproduction: a doubly labeled water study of lactating baboons.

Author information

Energetics and Adaptation of the Hominidae, CNRS GDR 2655 and Dynamique de l'Evolution Humaine CNRS UPR 2147, 44 rue de l'Amiral Mouchez, Paris, France.


Understanding the costs and regulation of reproduction in primates requires understanding the separate but linked effects of energy availability and total energy expenditure (TEE). We compared variation in TEE and energy intake (EI) between two periods, early lactation and after the resumption of sexual cycling, for eight females from two groups of normally reproducing colony-living baboons (Papio h. anubis). Total energy expenditure was assessed using the doubly labeled water method. TEE was correlated with maternal mass both during early lactation and after the resumption of cycling. TEE after the resumption of cycling was positively related to infant growth rates; mothers with rapidly growing infants had higher energy expenditure. TEE was however unrelated to maternal rank and only weakly associated with reproductive parameters such as delay to conception. EI in early lactation was related to infant mass and interbirth intervals, but unrelated to infant growth or reproductive parameters once cycling had resumed. Energy availability (EA; the difference between intake and expenditure) differed significantly between subordinate and dominant females during early lactation, was highly variable among individuals as a function of body composition, and is suggested to follow a nonlinear relationship as a complex function of social status, lactation stage, infant growth, and female fertility. Thus, as a consequence of reduced energy availability, subordinate females in this captive context may experience reproductive delays even though the total energy expenditure after the return of cycling was similar between high and low ranking females.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center