Publications [#52271] of Leslie J. Digby

Book Sections/Chapters

  1. L. Digby and W. Saltzman, Balancing cooperation and competition in callitrichid primates: examining the relative risk of infanticide across species, in The Smallest Anthropoids: The Marmoset/Callimico Radiation, edited by SM Ford, LM Porter and LC Davis (November, 2009), Springer Verlag, ISBN 978-1-4419-0292-4
    (last updated on 2009/12/16)

    At least seven cases of infanticide by females other than the mother have been observed in wild groups of common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus), with several more cases described for captive groups. Infanticide by females other than the mother has not, however, been documented for wild groups of other callitrichine species. Why might such overt aggression toward infants occur in one species and not others? In the common marmoset, a variety of social, reproductive and ecological characteristics – including short inter- birth intervals (and the resulting potential for overlapping of pregnancies and births), habitat saturation, small home ranges, and low cost of infant care (including decreased travel costs and short dependency periods compared to other callitrichines) – may contribute to an increased likelihood of two breeding females being present in a group, which in turn gives rise to the potential for competition between breeding females and ultimately to infanticide. These conditions are less common in wild groups of most other callitrichines species. All callitrichines balance the need for cooperative care of young with the reproductive competition that results from limited reproductive opportunities; however ecological and social conditions appear to tip the balance toward infanticide more frequently in common marmosets than in other callitrichine species.