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Parental care in the buffy-tufted-ear marmoset (Callithrix aurita) in wild and captive groups

Cuidado parental em grupos de sagüis-da-serra-escuros (Callithrix aurita) silvestre e de cativeiro

C. V. SANTOS M. M. MARTINS About the authors

Studies on cooperative care of offspring in callitrichid primates are biased in favor of observations in captivity. In the wild, however, individuals have to deal with environmental pressures, which may influence their social behavior. We compared the individual effort attributed to parental care offered by members of a wild group (couple, plus a subadult helper) and two captive groups (A: couple, plus an subadult helper, B: couple, plus four adult helpers) of the buffy-tufted-ear marmoset, Callithrix aurita, from weeks 1-12 after the infants' birth. The carrier (breeding male and female or helper) and the infant's feeding (food sharing and foraging for food) were recorded. Up to week four, while the wild breeding pair shared infant carrying at similar proportions, the male from captive group A carried 100% of the time. Adult helpers from group B were the main carriers. Carrying behavior extended up to week 12 only in the wild group. Food provisioning to the infant was observed earlier in the groups wild and A, but general proportion of feeding records was lower in the wild than in captivity. Energetic cost of travelling and searching for food may be associated with equal division of carrying behavior by the wild breeding pair. Higher proportions of carrying in the groups wild and B may have delayed the development of the infants' motor skills required in foraging. Our data agree with previous studies: the father's lower investment in carrying when adult helpers are present and lower contribution of subadult non-reproductive members.

parental care; Callithrix aurita; carrying; wild; captivity

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