• postcranial morphology;
  • sexual dimorphism;
  • laboratory rearing;
  • heterosis;
  • Callitrichidae


Saddle-back tamarins (Saguinus fuscicollis) have been differentiated into subspecies based on coat color and facial morphology. Morphology of first-generation genetic hybrids can provide an understanding of population differences and evolution that may otherwise be difficult to obtain. This study compares postcranial morphology in two hybrids of saddle-back tamarins (S. f. illigeri × S. f. lagonotus and S. f. illigeri × S. f. leucogenys) to the purebred subspecies. We examine whether postcranial morphology differs between the purebred subspecies and their hybrids, and whether hybrids exhibit heterosis indicative of genetic differences between the parental subspecies. Fifty postcranial dimensions, or traits, were measured on 287 S. fuscicollis skeletons. Measurements were corrected for sex differences and environmental differences (wild-derived or laboratory-born). Females were larger than males for most postcranial dimensions, especially in the pelvis. Significant environmental differences were found throughout the postcranial skeleton, with wild-derived animals generally larger than animals born in the laboratory. Significant heterosis was found for six postcranial traits in the S. f. illigeri × S. f. leucogenys cross, and heterosis was found for 15 postcranial traits in the S. f. illigeri × S. f. lagonotus cross. These results suggest that subspecies differences in skeletal morphology are generally due to genetic rather than environmental differences. The subspecies appear to represent geographic isolates that differ in gene frequencies and directional dominance for skeletal traits. Am. J. Primatol. 54:41–56, 2001. © 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.