Field Frame Friday: Excuse me? May I park my infant here please?

Ruffed lemurs, like the black and white ruffed lemur pictured here (Varecia variegata editorum) exhibit a unique infant rearing strategy among primates. They give birth to litters of 2-3 altricial (meaning that they are rather helpless and not as developed at birth) babies in a nest. The babies stay in the nest while one adult forages. This “infant-parking” is associated with faster growth rates in lemurs.

[Photo and caption by Meredith Lutz]

Morland, H. S. (1990). Parental behavior and infant development in ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegata) in a northeast Madagascar rain forest. American Journal of Primatology20(4), 253-265.

Pereira, M. E., Klepper, A., & Simons, E. L. (1987). Tactics of care for young infants by forest‐living ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegata variegata): Ground nests, parking, and biparental guarding. American Journal of Primatology13(2), 129-144.

Tecot, S.R., Baden, A.L., Romine, N.K., Kamilar, J.M. (2012).  Infant parking and nesting, not allomaternal care, influence Malagasy primate life histories . Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 66(10), 1375-1386.

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