Grooming relationships between breeding females and adult group members in cooperatively breeding moustached tamarins (Saguinus mystax)
AffiliationDepartment of Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, German Primate Centre
Department of Cognitive Ethology, German Primate Centre, Germany
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AbstractGrooming is the most common form of affiliative behavior in primates that apart from hygienic and hedonistic benefits offers important social benefits for the performing individuals. This study examined grooming behavior in a cooperatively breeding primate species, characterized by single female breeding per group, polyandrous matings, dizygotic twinning, delayed offspring dispersal, and intensive helping behavior. In this system, breeding females profit from the presence of helpers but also helpers profit from staying in a group and assisting in infant care due to the accumulation of direct and indirect fitness benefits. We examined grooming relationships of breeding females with three classes of partners (breeding males, potentially breeding males, (sub)adult non-breeding offspring) during three reproductive phases (post-partum ovarian inactivity, ovarian activity, pregnancy) in two groups of wild moustached tamarins (Saguinus mystax). We investigated whether grooming can be used to regulate group size by either ‘‘pay-for-help’’ or ‘‘pay-to-stay’’ mechanisms. Grooming of breeding females with breeding males and nonbreeding offspring was more intense and more balanced than with potentially breeding males, and most grooming occurred during the breeding females’ pregnancies. Grooming was skewed toward more investment by the breeding females with breeding males during the phases of ovarian activity, and with potentially breeding males during pregnancies. Our results suggest that grooming might be a mechanism used by female moustached tamarins to induce mate association with the breeding male, and to induce certain individuals to stay in the group and help with infant care.
CitationGrooming relationships between breeding females and adult group members in cooperatively breeding moustached tamarins (Saguinus mystax) 2007, 69 (10):1159 American Journal of Primatology
JournalAmerican Journal of Primatology
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