Mandrills care for close maternal kin despite infection
Our physical and psychological condition is decisive for
our well-being. Humans who have a stable network of friends and relatives are
therefor generally happier and healthier than others. Monkeys consolidate their
relationships by social grooming. This physical contact strengthens social bonds
and minimizes stress and conflict. The downside: Physical contact is the ideal basis
for the spread of pathogens. One strategy to stop their transmission is to avoid
infected individuals. Mandrills are able to do this because they can detect infected
conspecifics by smell. Clémence Poirotte from the German Primate Center – Leibniz
Institute for Primate Research in Göttingen and Marie Charpentier from the Institut
des Sciences de l'Evolution de Montpellier (CNRS) have now shown that the animals
do not avoid all group members equally. Close maternal kin do not reduce their
care, even if this increases the risk of infection for them (Biology Letters).
Clémence Poirotte conducted this study using six years of behavioral and
parasitological data collected from a wild mandrill population inhabiting the Lékédi
Park in Southern Gabon. This population comprises about 220 habituated individuals
studied since 2012 as part of the long-term study "Mandrillus Project" led by Marie
Charpentier. These Old World monkeys living in the dense rainforests are infested by
various intestinal parasites, some with health consequences. Parasites spread through
physical contacts, especially social grooming. The Mandrillus Project routinely
determines the frequency and duration of social activities and the degree of kinship
between the animals using genetic analyses, In addition daily faecal samples are
collected to evaluate the parasite infestation of the animals. Up to seven sets of
contagious parasites (amoebas) colonize the monkeys.
In many primate societies, such as the mandrills, highly differentiated social bonds
usually occur between closely related group members. The Mandrills' strategy of not
avoiding risky contacts altogether, but rather maintaining the bonds between mother
and children and between maternal half siblings, stabilizes social relationships. "Even if
close maternal relatives are highly contagious, the social effects of avoiding them seem
to be more harmful than the hygienic or physiological disadvantages associated with
social grooming," explains Clémence Poirotte.
Poirotte C, Charpentier MJE.2020 Unconditional care from close maternalkin in the face of
parasites. Biol. Lett. 16:20190869. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2019.0869
https://owncloud.dpz.eu/index.php/s/toFrffgty4sCm1u | printable photos
Criteria of this press release:
You can combine search terms with and, or and/or not, e.g. Philo not logy.
You can use brackets to separate combinations from each other, e.g. (Philo not logy) or (Psycho and logy).
Coherent groups of words will be located as complete phrases if you put them into quotation marks, e.g. “Federal Republic of Germany”.
You can also use the advanced search without entering search terms. It will then follow the criteria you have selected (e.g. country or subject area).
If you have not selected any criteria in a given category, the entire category will be searched (e.g. all subject areas or all countries).