Emigration as a Reproductive Strategy of the Common Marmoset (Callithrix jacchus)

  • Maria Bernardete Cordeiro de Sousa
  • Ana Claudia Sales da Rocha Albuquerque
  • Maria Emilia Yamamoto
  • Arrilton Araújo
  • Maria de Fátima Arruda
Chapter
Part of the Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects book series (DIPR)

Abstract

Demographic studies provide critical data for understanding the evolution, ecology, social organization and mating systems of primates. One influence on the demographic structure of a population is the pattern of emigration of individuals from their natal groups. In cooperative breeders, the offspring may stay in their natal group even after maturity, and many researchers are investigating the possible ecological and social factors responsible for this pattern and the resulting reproductive skew that occurs within these populations. In Callithrix jacchus, the common marmoset individuals disperse from their natal groups as adults, females disperse more frequently than males, and dispersals are more frequent during the rainy season than during the dry season. However, neither group size nor tertiary sex ratio is correlated with dispersal. Captive animals that undergo experimental procedures that simulate natural conditions after emigration (isolation from a group followed by movement into a new environment) trigger different physiological and behavioral responses in each sex. Males increased significantly in cortisol levels after separation, and upon placement in a new environment together with other males, they intensified their affiliative relationships and cooperated in tasks to acquire food. Females were less affected by isolation (as measured by changes in cortisol levels) and significantly increased piloerection and scent-marking behaviors when they were moved (as dyads) to a new environment. These differences suggest that males and females have evolved different strategies for dispersal and breeding success, and the dynamics of social relationships between females seem to be the main determinant of the demographic profile of common marmoset populations. Moreover, besides adaptations related to reproduction, females show additional behavioral and physiological mechanisms that may be selected to cope with social isolation following emigration.

Keywords

Migration Cage Cortisol Testosterone Defend 

Resumen

Los estudios demográficos proveen datos críticos para entender la evolución, ecología, organización social y sistemas de apareamiento de los primates. La permanencia o emigración del grupo natal de un miembro influye las estructuras demográficas de la población. En las especies de reproducción cooperativa los descendientes pueden permanecer en un grupo natal aún después de alcanzar la madurez y muchos investigadores buscan identificar los posibles factores sociales y ecológicos responsables de estos patrones y de la asimetría reproductiva que se produce en estas poblaciones. En Callithix jacchus, los individuos se dispersan de sus grupos natales como adultos, las hembras se dispersan con mayor frecuencia que los machos y las dispersiones son más frecuentes en la estación húmeda que en la seca. Sin embargo, ni el tamaño de grupo ni la tasa sexual terciaria están correlacionados con la dispersión. Animales cautivos que enfrentaron procedimientos experimentales que simulan condiciones naturales después de la emigración (aislamiento de un grupo seguido de movimiento hacia un ambiente nuevo) mostraron diferentes respuestas fisiológicas y conductuales para cada sexo. Los machos incrementaron significativamente los niveles de cortisol luego de la separación y, cuando fueron ubicados dentro de un nuevo ambiente con otros machos, intensificaron las relaciones afiliativas y cooperaron en las tareas para adquirir alimento. Las hembras fueron menos sensibles al aislamiento (medido por los cambios en niveles de cortisol) e incrementaron significativamente la piloerección y las conductas de marcaje por olor cuando fueron movidas en diadas a un ambiente nuevo. Estas diferencias sexuales sugieren que machos y hembras han evolucionado estrategias distintas para la dispersión y el éxito reproductivo, y las dinámicas de relaciones sociales entre hembras parecen ser el determinante principal del perfil demográfico de las poblaciones de marmosetas comunes. Aunado a las adaptaciones relacionadas a la reproducción, las hembras muestran mecanismos conductuales y fisiológicos adicionales que pueden estar seleccionados para enfrentar el aislamiento social que conlleva la emigración.

Resumo

Os dados demográficos de uma população fornecem informações críticas para a compreensão sobre evolução, ecologia, organização social e sistemas de acasalamento de primatas. Um dos fatores que influenciam a estrutura demográfica de uma população é o padrão de emigração dos indivíduos do seu grupo natal. Nas espécies de reprodução cooperativa os filhos podem permanecer no grupo natal após a maturidade reprodutiva e várias pesquisas buscam identificar os fatores sociais e ecológicos responsáveis pela assimetria que se instala na reprodução. Em sagüi comum, Callithrix jacchus, os indivíduos dispersam do seu grupo natal como adultos sendo mais freqüente nas fêmeas durante a estação chuvosa. Entretanto nem o tamanho do grupo nem a razão sexual terciária se correlacionam com a dispersão. Procedimentos experimentais simulando situações naturais com as quais os animais se confrontam após emigração (isolamento após a saída do grupo e mudança para um novo ambiente) desencadeiam respostas fisiológicas e comportamentais diferentes para ambos os sexos. Os machos elevam significativamente mais o cortisol quando isolados e intensificam as interações afiliativas com outros machos e outros experimentos mostram que eles cooperam em tarefas para obtenção de alimento. As fêmeas são menos afetadas pelo isolamento (não elevam significativamente o cortisol) e aumentam a piloereção e marcação de cheiro quando expostas em duplas a um ambiente novo. Esses resultados sugerem que machos e fêmeas desenvolveram diferentes estratégias para dispersarem e obterem o sucesso reprodutivo e que a dinâmica das relações entre fêmeas parece ser o principal determinante do perfil demográfico de uma população de C. jacchus. Adicionalmente, além das adaptações relacionadas à reprodução, as fêmeas apresentam mecanismos fisiológicos e comportamentais que podem ter sido selecionados para enfrentar o isolamento social após a emigração.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Bernardete Cordeiro de Sousa
    • 1
  • Ana Claudia Sales da Rocha Albuquerque
  • Maria Emilia Yamamoto
  • Arrilton Araújo
  • Maria de Fátima Arruda
  1. 1.Departamento de FisiologiaUniversidade Federal do Rio Grande do NorteNatalBrazil

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