Reproductive factors affecting survivorship in captive callitrichidae

Cashell E. Jaquish, Timothy B. Gage, Suzette D. Tardif

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Efforts to breed Callitrichidae in captivity have resulted in high fertility accompanied by high infant mortality. This paper investigates the relationship between reproductive characteristics and survivorship in the Oak Ridge and Associated Universities (ORAU) callitrichid colony. Records of 2,834 individuals were analyzed using Cox Proportional Hazards regression to investigate factors affecting infant survivorship. Species and birth cohort were found to have a significant (P < 0.05) effect on survivorship. Litter size also was an important factor in determining survivorship. Individuals born into singlet and twin litters had significantly (P < 0.001) higher survivorship than triplets. Factors which affect survivorship perinatally (0–1 months of age), prior to breeding age and subsequent to the first month of life were then investigated. Litter size was a significant (P < 0.05) factor in determining survivorship perinatally, with twins having significantly higher survivorship than both singlets and triplets. After the first month of life, litter size no longer showed a significant effect on survivorship. Records of 145 dams were analyzed using the same procedures to investigate reproductive characteristics associated with survivorship. Age at first litter showed a significant (P < 0.01) positive relationship with dam survivorship. These results suggest various factors affect survivorship at specific temporal points during development, and also suggest selection for survivorship perinatally to be strongly associated with litter size, possibly through sibling competition and maternal effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-305
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Callitrichidae
  • Maternal effects
  • Optimal litter size
  • Survivorship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Anthropology


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