Abstract # 2025:

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Lactational performance in primiparous and multiparous rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta)

K. Hinde1,2
1UCLA Department of Anthropology, Haines Hall 341, Box 951553, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1553, USA, 2Nutrition Laboratory, Department of Conservation Biology, Smithsonian National Zoological Park
     Variation in nursing behavior, maternal care, and infant outcome has been extensively studied in non-human primates and differences between primiparous and multiparous mothers are well established. However the influence of parity on milk composition and yield is less understood. Here we present data from 21 primiparous (mean age= 3.9 yrs, mean wt =7.2 kg) and 24 multiparous rhesus macaques (8.5 yrs, 9.0 kg) socially housed at the CaNPRC. Milk samples were collected once between day 90 and day 120 postpartum. Multiple regression and t-tests were conducted using SPSS 12 with significance set at p?0.05. No differences in percent fat, protein, sugars, or total gross energy (GE) of milk were observed between the two groups. Milk yield, estimated from sample volume, was higher for multiparous mothers as a function of maternal weight (p=0.005). Similarly as a function of maternal weight, energy transfer (GE * yield) was higher for multiparous mothers than primiparous mothers (p=0.005). For multiparous mothers energy transfer was associated with infant weight (p=0.046), but not for primiparous mothers. However, primiparous mothers produced more concentrated milks for sons than daughters (p=0.021), with significantly higher fat and protein concentrations, and sons of primiparous mothers weighed more than daughters (p=0.038). These data indicate that although primiparous and multiparous mothers produce milk of similar composition, other aspects of milk production differ between the groups.