Abstract # 2233 Event # 201:

Scheduled for Saturday, June 23, 2007 12:20 PM-12:35 PM: Session 19 (North Main Hall C/D) Symposium


Proximate Mechanisms of Cooperative Breeding in Cotton-Top Tamarin and Marmoset Monkeys by Chemical Communication

T. E. Ziegler1,2 and C. T. Snowdon2
1Wisconsin National Primate Research Center, 1220 Capitol Court, Madison, Wisconsin 53715, USA, 2Department of Psychology
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     Chemical communication reaches its greatest complexity in cooperatively breeding mammals. Cooperative breeders use chemical communication to maintain their close-family relationships. For two species of callitrichid monkeys, the cotton-top tamarin (Saguinus oepidus) and the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus), males are responsive to the cues of ovulation. Isolated scent cues from the scent marks of periovulatory novel females and pair mates will elicit arousal behaviors and a testosterone response in both species (Ziegler et al., 2005; Ziegler et al., 2004). Males are responsive to these cues whether they are in the family environment or isolated. Ovulatory signals provide a means for males to anticipate the female’s fertile period and ensure the male’s continued investment in the family. Knowledge of the female’s pregnancy is important for maintaining the cooperative breeding system of callithricids (Ziegler et al., 2005). Male common marmosets and cotton-top tamarins are responsive to the cues of pregnancy, with both species showing weight and hormonal changes during the female’s pregnancy (Ziegler et al., 2006). Thus, males prepare hormonally and physically for their role in parenting to ensure immediate responsiveness to infants. Cooperative breeders require participation from older offspring in infant care. Chemical cues from the breeding female appear to prevent or reduce fertility in their daughters, thereby reducing competition for carriers for their own infants (Ziegler et al., 1987). Thus chemical communication enables cooperative breeding primates to adjust both mating effort and parental effort according to their social surroundings. Supported by MH03525, MH070423, NIHP51RR000167.