• benefits;
  • aggression;
  • evictions;
  • infant-carrying;
  • female helpers


Shortly after giving birth, cotton-top tamarin mothers frequently attack the eldest female helpers [Snowdon et al., American Journal of Primatology 31:11–21, 1993]. Sometimes this aggression leads to the eviction of the eldest daughters from their natal groups 3–4 months after the birth of infants [Price & McGrew, Folia Primatologica 57:16–27, 1991]. We propose that daughters, during the act of carrying infants, may receive less aggression from mothers than when they are not carrying. On the other hand, given that mothers benefit from having others carry their infants, overall aggression received by female helpers from their mothers might be lower in those female helpers with a larger relative contribution to this activity. Four groups were observed during the first 9 weeks following the birth of infants, and aggression received was recorded for symmetrical as well as nonsymmetrical interactions. We found a positive correlation between contribution to infant carrying of female helpers and the overall aggression received from their mothers. Furthermore, the two eldest daughters with highest values of carrying contribution were evicted from their natal groups 3–4 months after the birth of infants. Although mothers do not appear to be more tolerant of female helpers that contribute the most to infant carrying, daughters do benefit from reduced aggression during the act of carrying, and remain in their natal group during the time period when infants must be carried. Am. J. Primatol. 57:43–49, 2002. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.