Body Weight of Wild and Captive Common Marmosets (Callithrix jacchus)

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Captive studies and occasional trappings of wild individuals indicate that callitrichids have small size and body weight and lack sexual dimorphism. We compared body weights of captive and wild Callithrix jacchus obtained by repeatedly weighing subjects from two populations in Brazil. We obtained captive data by routinely weighing 138 individuals from the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte colony and wild data via regular trapping of 243 individuals in 15 free-ranging groups from IBAMA's field site in Nísia Floresta. We assigned all subjects to one of four age classes—infant, juvenile, subadult, and adult—according to their birth dates or size, reproductive status, and dental development. There is no significant difference between males and females in any of the four age classes, but captive subjects were heavier than wild ones in all age classes but infant. Reproductive and nonreproductive adult females showed no statistical difference in weight. These results accord with previous reports of lack of body size sexual dimorphism in common marmosets and suggest that differences between wild and captive common marmosets are not constitutional, but are instead a consequence of diet and physical activity. The absence of weight difference between reproductive and nonreproductive females suggests that any possible advantage from high rank is outweighed by the costs of reproduction in common marmosets.

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