Factors affecting group spread within wild mixed-species troops of saddleback and mustached tamarins



Smith AC, Buchanan-Smith HM, Surridge AK & Mundy N (2005) Factors affecting group spread within wild mixed-species troops of saddleback and mustached tamarins. International Journal of Primatology, 26 (2), pp. 337-355.

We examined group spread and interindividual spacing within wild mixed species troops of saddleback (Saguinus fuscicollis) and mustached (Saguinus mystax) tamarins. Mustached tamarin groups were spread over larger areas than those of saddleback tamarins. Group size and behavior affected group spread and interspecific proximity: larger groups of both species were dispersed over greater areas, and the larger troop had the lowest degree of interspecific proximity. Behavior also affected group spread and interspecific proximity: when traveling individuals were spread over a larger area, and the distance between heterospecifics was greater than when stationary. We examined spatial proximity using data on the distance from nearest neighbor. Overall, distance to nearest neighbor was not affected by group size. Based on specific behaviors, foraging saddleback tamarins were significantly nearer conspecifics than to mustached tamarins. Tamarins have polymorphic color vision, and trichromats -- having 3 types of visual pigment -- versus dichromatic individuals -- with two types of pigment -- may be better at perceiving yellow or russet colored predators and conspecifics than their dichromatic counterparts are. Color vision status affected spatial positioning, with vigilant trichromats being further from their neighbors than their dichromatic conspecifics were. We discuss the findings with respect to the ecology of the species. Specifically, interspecific differences in group spread and spatial proximity are related to differences in the supports used, and the effect of troop size on interspecific proximity is related to increased resource competition. The finding that trichromats are further from their neighbors represents the first example of a behavioral correlate of color vision ability in a wild species with polymorphic color vision, and is explained through the perception of predation risk.

polyspecific association; sex differences; polymorphic color vision; trichromacy

International Journal of Primatology: Volume 26, Issue 2

Publication date30/04/2005

People (1)


Professor Hannah Buchanan-Smith
Professor Hannah Buchanan-Smith

Professor, Psychology