Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Proc Biol Sci. 2009 Feb 7;276(1656):389-99. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2008.1374.

Reproductive skew in female common marmosets: what can proximate mechanisms tell us about ultimate causes?

Author information

  • 1Department of Biology, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521, USA. saltzman@ucr.edu

Abstract

Common marmosets are cooperatively breeding monkeys that exhibit high reproductive skew: most subordinate females fail to reproduce, while others attempt to breed but produce very few surviving infants. An extensive dataset on the mechanisms limiting reproduction in laboratory-housed and free living subordinate females provides unique insights into the causes of reproductive skew. Non-breeding adult females undergo suppression of ovulation and inhibition of sexual behaviour; however, they receive little or no aggression or mating interference by dominants and do not exhibit behavioural or physiological signs of stress. Breeding subordinate females receive comparable amounts of aggression to non-breeding females but are able to conceive, gestate and lactate normally. In groups containing two breeding females,however, both dominant and subordinate breeders kill one another's infants. These findings suggest that preconception reproductive suppression is not imposed on subordinate females by dominants, at a proximate level, but is instead self-imposed by most subordinates, consistent with restraint models of reproductive skew. In contrast to restraint models, however, this self-suppression probably evolved not in response to the threat of eviction by dominant females but in response to the threat of infanticide. Thus,reproductive skew in this species appears to be generated predominantly by subordinate self-restraint, in a proximate sense, but ultimately by dominant control over subordinates' reproductive attempts.

PMID:
18945663
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2592602
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk