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Student Prize Award Abstract
2004 Oral Paper Award


A. J. Ginther and C. T. Snowdon Departments of Psychology and Zoology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 53706, USA

The interactions of male tamarins (Saguinus spp.) have been described as tolerant or affiliative; within-group aggression between males is rare, and polyandrous matings occur. We observed 5 captive family groups (174.5 hr) for nonaggressive mounts given by males to the dam. Each group contained the sire, dam, and at least one prepubertal and one mature son. Of 142 total mounts, 54% overall were by sons (0.44 mount/hr; 50% overall by mature sons) versus 46% by sires (0.37 mount/hr). Sires never responded to mounts by sons with aggression, and twice responded with affiliative behavior. The dam rejected (responded with struggling or contact aggression) 39% of the all mounts by sons, but only 17% of those by sires. Much variation existed between males, but sires had a greater proportion of mounts that could have resulted in intromission. Pelvic thrusting accompanied 31% of mounts by sires but only 10% of mounts by sons. For sires, 19 of the 20 mounts (95%) accompanied by thrusting were in a body position where intromission was possible; half were rejected by the dam. In contrast, intromission was possible in only 4 of the 8 thrusting mounts by sons; all were rejected by the dam. Sexual behavior between sons and dams occurred; however, most mounts by sons could not have resulted in copulation. The dam, rather than the sire, played a greater immediate role in regulating mating access.

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