Infant care in the spectral tarsier (Tarsius spectrum) Sulawesi, Indonesia Academic Article uri icon


  • I present quantitative and qualitative data on infant caretaking behaviors collected during a preliminary field study of spectral tarsiers (Tarsius spectrum), in a northern Sulawesi rain forest. The primary goal of the study is to identify the basic pattern of infant care in this species. I studied tarsiers at Tangkoko-Dua Saudara Nature Reserve in Sulawesi, Indonesia, from May to July 1992. I observed two infants, from two groups for a total of 96 hr using focal follows. During individual focal follows, ranging from 20 min to 6 hr, I recorded behaviors at 5-min intervals. I also recorded distances of group members relative to the infant at 5-min intervals. I subsampled the data at 35-min intervals to control for statistical autocorrelation between data points. Infants were alone between 40 and 50% of the time. The two subadults were more frequently in proximity to the infant than the adult males, the nonmatemal adult female, or the mothers were. This pattern of the subadults maintaining proximity to the infant continued when the mothers were absent. These results suggest that subadults may be guarding or babysitting infants. It is also possible that subadults are not traveling as far from the sleeping site as adults do and are therefore more likely to be found in association with the infant. 1994 Plenum Publishing Corporation.

published proceedings

  • International Journal of Primatology

author list (cited authors)

  • Gursky, S. L.

publication date

  • January 1, 1995 11:11 AM