Infant‐care Behavior of Non‐reproductive Helpers in a Communal‐care Primate, the Cotton‐top Tamarin (Saguinus oedipus)

Suzette D. Tardif, Robert L. Carson, Barbara L. Gangaware

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Infant‐care behavior patterns of captive cotton‐top tamarins were examined to assess factors defining participation by non‐reproductive helpers. The time spent carrying infants and characteristics of infant transfers were examined for 47 helpers in a total of 18 groups. We predicted that age, previous experience, and carrying opportunity would all affect participation of non‐reproductive helpers. Our results confirm that carrying by non‐reproductive helpers was related to age, with older helpers carrying more often. However, this difference declined with increasing infant age, suggesting that body size of the carrier was not the only factor determining participation in carrying. When observations were classified relative to type of interaction with infants, older juveniles were found to both investigate and harass infants more often than subadults or younger juveniles. There was no effect of gender on carrying. The carrying behavior of subadults was not affected by their previous experience; that is, subadults with no previous exposure to infants carried as often as those with previous experience. Inter‐individual variation among helpers was high; within 11 twin litters of helpers, one animal usually carried significantly more than the other. 1992 Blackwell Verlag GmbH

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-167
Number of pages13
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


Dive into the research topics of 'Infant‐care Behavior of Non‐reproductive Helpers in a Communal‐care Primate, the Cotton‐top Tamarin (Saguinus oedipus)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this