Nighttime Wakefulness Associated with Infant Rearing in Callithrix kuhlii

Jeffrey E. Fite, Jeffrey A. French, Kimberly J. Patera, Elizabeth C. Hopkins, Michael Rukstalis, Heather A. Jensen, Corinna N. Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1267-1280
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Primatology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Callitrichid
  • Co-sleeping
  • Infant care
  • Maternal behavior
  • Sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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