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Coquerel's Sifaka (Propithecus coquereli) Fact Sheet: Reproduction & Development

Courtship & Mating

Seasonal reproduction

  • Mating season typically November-February (Mittermeier et al. 2013)

Not monogamous

  • Female mates selectively with one or more males
    • Inferred from studies of the closely related Propithecus verreuxi (Brockman and Whitten 1996)
    • Female may mate with males outside her immediate group (Brockman and Whitten 1996; Richard 1974)

Pre-copulatory behavior (from Richard 1974 unless otherwise noted)

  • Males "roam"
    • Long distance forays outside home range, into those of other groups
    • Remain apart from group for an extended period
  • Females receptive for only c. 1 day (Mittermeier et al. 2013)
    • Most male advances are rejected
    • Roll up tails to advertise receptivity (Mittermeier et al. 2013)

Gestation & Birth

Gestation (from Eaglen and Boskoff 1978; Mittermeier et al. 2013)

  • c. 162 days
    • c. 5 months

Interval between births (from (Richard et al. 2000 unless otherwise noted)

  • c. 2 years (Mittermeier et al. 2013)
    • Shorter intervals possible
    • May be related to physical condition/body mass

Birth

  • Occurs in the dry season
  • Parturition takes place in trees
    • Inferred from captive observations (Eaglen and Boskoff 1978)
    • Mother appears to isolate herself from group members; rejoins group within hours of birth (Mittermeier et al. 2013)
  • 1 infant, generally (Mittermeier et al. 2013)
    • Birth weight: 85-115 g (3-4 oz) (Haring 2012)
    • Eyes open, arms short, fur sparse, and head domed (Mittermeier et al. 2013)
    • Cling to and crawl on mother immediately after birth (Eaglen and Boskoff 1978)

Life Stages

Infant

  • Care (from Mittermeier et al. 2013 unless otherwise noted)
    • Mother shares duties with group members (allo-parenting)
      • Infant clings to mother's chest for c.1 month following birth
        • Head commonly hidden within her fur
        • Carried and groomed by other group members, including males, after this time (Bastian and Brockman 2007; Brockman and Whitten 2004; Mittermeier et al. 2013)
    • Milk sole source of food for c.2 months (Eaglen and Boskoff 1978)
      • Regularly ingest solid foods by c. 12 weeks (Eaglen and Boskoff 1978)
      • No observations of allo-nursing reported for any sifaka species
    • Independent of care by c. 6 months
  • Development (from Eaglen and Boskoff 1978 unless otherwise noted)
    • Locomotor skills
      • Birth - c. 8 weeks: cling to mother and other group members
      • c. 8 weeks: hang from branches and explore at short distances (<1m or 3 ft) from mother
      • 8-10 weeks: leap short distances (<20 cm or 0.7 ft)
      • 11-14 weeks: jump longer distances (>50 cm or >1.6 ft)
    • Social skills
      • 4-5 weeks: groom mother
      • 5-8 weeks: regularly groom father
      • c. 6 weeks: onset of solitary play
      • c. 7 weeks: begin play with others
    • Physical growth
      • Size of adult by c. 12 months (Mittermeier et al. 2013)
  • Mortality high (Mittermeier et al. 2013)

Adult

  • Sexual maturity
    • c. 2.5 years (Mittermeier et al. 2013)
  • Reproductive throughout adulthood (Bastian and Brockman 2007)
    • No evidence of reproductive senescence in males

Longevity

In captivity

  • Up to 30 years (Bastian and Brockman 2007)

In the wild

  • Up to 20 years (Mittermeier et al. 2013)

Mortality

Minimal information

  • Absence of larger carnivores (> 7-12 kg) in Madagascar (Richard and Dewar 1991)
    • Suggests low risk of predation for adults (Richard and Dewar 1991)

Predators

  • Fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox) (Mittermeier et al. 2013)
  • Infants may fall prey to snakes and raptors (Jolly 1966; Richard and Dewar 1991; Sauther 1989)

Infant Care and Development


a sifaka and baby

Within c. 4 months of birth, an infant can be seen riding on its mother's back or that of other group members. It must cling tightly while the adult leaps through the forest canopy. At c. 3.5 months it is ready to travel on its own and leap distances of over 1.5 feet.

Image credit: © C Sharp from Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Page Citations

Bastian and Brockman (2007)
Brockman and Whitten (1996)
Brockman and Whitten (2004)
Eaglen and Boskoff (1978)
Haring (2012)
Jolly (1966)
Mittermeier et al. (2013)
Richard (1974)
Richard et al. (2000)
Richard and Dewar (1991)
Sauther (1989)

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