SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • mate-guarding;
  • consortship;
  • moustached tamarins;
  • agonistic;
  • reproductive monopolization;
  • olfactory cues

Abstract

In moustached tamarin (Saguinus mystax) groups, the single breeding female mates polyandrously with most or all nonrelated adult males. Nonetheless, paternity is monopolized in many groups by a single male. No evidence for male endocrine suppression has been found in this species. The proximate mechanisms of monopolization thus remain poorly understood. The aim of this study was to investigate the possible impact of agonistic interactions and mate-guarding on the monopolization of paternity in male moustached tamarins. Furthermore, we evaluated the likely costs of these behaviors, and whether olfactory cues might be used for its timing. We used behavioral data on proximity, agonistic interactions, time budgets, and scent-marking behavior to answer these questions. While direct agonistic competition does not play a prominent role, fertile females were consorted in some periods by one male, the sire of the previous and next litter. Consorting was instigated nearly exclusively by the male. It probably occurred during the female's periods of highest fertility, and thus likely functions as mate-guarding. The timing of the consortship was probably guided by olfactory cues in the female's scent marks. While we did not obtain direct evidence for energy costs in terms of increased energy expenditure or decreased food intake, we found that consorting males are more conspicuous and therefore may be more vulnerable to predators. Am. J. Primatol. 64:39–56, 2004. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.