International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 24, Issue 6, pp 1267–1280 | Cite as

Nighttime Wakefulness Associated with Infant Rearing in Callithrix kuhlii

  • Jeffrey E. FiteEmail author
  • Jeffrey A. French
  • Kimberly J. Patera
  • Elizabeth C. Hopkins
  • Michael Rukstalis
  • Heather A. Jensen
  • Corinna N. Ross


Parent-infant cosleeping occurs in human and nonhuman primates, yet studies on the impact of cosleeping on parental sleep patterns have been limited to human mothers. We examined the effects of cosleeping on the nighttime wakefulness of a biparental New World primate, Wied's black tufted-ear marmoset (Callithrix kuhlii). We compared the sleep patterns of marmoset parents caring for young infants to those without infants, using an 8 mm videocamera and timelapse VCR under infrared illumination. The presence of young infants significantly impacted the sleep of mothers but not fathers. In fact, mothers rearing young infants were awake >3 times as often as mothers without infants. We also examined the nighttime wakefulness of marmoset parents across the first 9 weeks of infant life (birth through weaning). Although callitrichid mothers tend to reduce their daytime investment in offspring very early in infant life by relinquishing the care of infants to fathers and alloparents, increased nighttime wakefulness was not limited to the early postpartum period for the mothers. Instead, mothers exhibited more nighttime wakefulness than fathers did across the first 9 weeks of infant life. Our results indicate that the presence of infants has a greater impact on the sleep patterns of Callithrix kuhlii mothers than fathers, suggesting that mothers are more involved in infant care than previously realized and that fathers are not nearly as involved in nighttime care as their behavior during the day would suggest.

maternal behavior infant care sleep co-sleeping callitrichid 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey E. Fite
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jeffrey A. French
    • 1
  • Kimberly J. Patera
    • 1
  • Elizabeth C. Hopkins
    • 1
  • Michael Rukstalis
    • 1
  • Heather A. Jensen
    • 1
  • Corinna N. Ross
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology and Callitrichid Research CenterUniversity of Nebraska at OmahaOmaha

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