Cotton‐top tamarins (Saguinus (o.) oedipus) in a semi‐naturalistic captive colony

Eluned C. Price*, W. C. McGrew

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


To test the prediction that the breeding success of captive cotton‐top tamarins (Saguinus (o.) oedipus) could be improved by maintaining them in groups whose size and age‐sex composition resembled those of wild groups, data were collated from 6.5 years of records from a breeding colony that otherwise had housing and husbandry procedures similar to those of other successful colonies. Group size and composition in the colony closely resembled those of wild groups, and infant survival was the highest yet reported for the species, with 69% of the 124 infants born reared by their parents to adulthood, and a mean surviving litter size of 1.5 infants. Abortion, stillbirth, and parental neglect of infants were rare. Parity had several effects on reproduction: mean litter size decreased, but percentage infant survival increased; interbirth intervals decreased in length; and seasonality in reproduction was more pronounced for the first four litters born to breeding females than for their subsequent litters, with a birth peak in the spring. Although a spacious and complex physical environment, retention of offspring in their natal families until experience of several sets of infant siblings had been obtained, and non‐invasive husbandry and research techniques may all have contributed to the colony's success, it seems possible that the improvement over other colonies is due to the resemblance of group composition to those of wild tamarins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Primatology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1990


  • breeding
  • ecological validity
  • husbandry
  • naturalistic housing


Dive into the research topics of 'Cotton‐top tamarins (Saguinus (o.) oedipus) in a semi‐naturalistic captive colony'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this