Sociality inCallithrix penicillata: I. Intragroup Male Profile

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We analyzed the social interactions and behavior of adult males from a group of black-tufted-ear marmosets (Callithrix penicillata) to determine their roles and hierarchy in the group and how their behavior fits within the predictions of monogamic or polyandric mating systems in callitrichines. We monitored 1 group of marmosets from February to October 2005 in central Brazil. We conducted focal subject samples with 20 predetermined behaviors for adult and subadult males and registered all occurrences of agonistic behavior, affiliative behavior, copulations, and alarm vocalizations. Moreover, we recorded the height in the vegetation and proximity to other individuals by the focal subject. Males exhibited no clear dominance hierarchy based on either behavioral data or patterns of scent marking. Copulation and grooming patterns showed a social bond between 1 of the males and the dominant female, suggesting him as the group's putative breeding male, with no apparent competition for the position. There was no difference regarding other behaviors— alarm vocalization, infant carrying, and play—r the use of different vegetation strata among the males, and no indication of a specific role by the putative breeding male or any other male in the group. The presence of multiple males in marmoset groups and the behavioral profile generated in the current study suggest a mating system compatible with monogamy with helpers-at-the-nest structure.

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