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Seasonal Food Shortage, Weight Loss, and the Timing of Births in Saddle-Back Tamarins (Saguinus fuscicollis)
Anne W. Goldizen, J. Terborgh, F. Cornejo, D. T. Porras and R. Evans
Journal of Animal Ecology
Vol. 57, No. 3 (Oct., 1988), pp. 893-901
Published by: British Ecological Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/5099
Page Count: 9
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(1) Annual birth peaks in the breeding of several primate species are thought to correlate with seasonal changes in food availability, yet no study published to date has both correlated birth seasonality with food availability, and shown that the physical conditions of individuals decline during annual periods of food scarcity. (2) We document the following observations in a population of saddle-back tamarins (Saguinus fuscicollis Spix; Callitrichidae) at the Cocha Cashu Biological Station in Peru's Manu National Park. (3) The availability of both fruits and insects was substantially lower during the annual 4-month dry season (May-September) than at other times of the year. (4) Individual tamarins lost an average of 5% of their weight over this period. (5) Three-quarters of twenty-two S. fuscicollis births at this site occurred between November and February, and none occurred between mid-March and mid-August. (6) We suggest that tamarin births at Cocha Cashu are timed such that lactation and weaning occur when food is abundant, because during the period of low food availability, there would be insufficient food to meet the demands of lactation and to serve as easily obtainable weaning foods. In this sort of seasonal environment, tamarins appear to be constrained, by the seasonality of their food supply, from breeding as frequently as they do in captivity.
Journal of Animal Ecology © 1988 British Ecological Society