Social implications of gummivory in marmosets

Mary L. Harrison, Suzette D. Tardif

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Gummivory or exudate feeding is a major dietary specialization which has received relatively little attention in the literature. While plant exudates contribute to the diet of many primate species, we suggest that the callitrichid species Cebuella pygmaea and Callithrix jacchus are obligate exudate feeders under free‐ranging conditions. Callithrix jacchus provides an excellent model for examining the effects of exudate feeding and foraging upon social behavior, since other callitrichid species of similar body size do not share this dietary specialization. We review the effects of exudate foraging on specific social behaviors observed both in field and laboratory populations of C. jacchus. By comparing this species to closely related species, exudate foraging is seen to (1) be retained under laboratory conditions, (2) increase the frequency of territorial marking behavior while decreasing the frequency of overt aggression in males, (3) decrease the duration of infant care, and (4) increase the number of nonadults in social groups but not affect group size. The evidence presented supports the hypothesis that the consequences of exudate foraging in C. jacchus are fundamental and socially complex. © 1994 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)399-408
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1994


  • Gummivory
  • Marmosets
  • Social behavior
  • Tamarins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Anthropology


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