Sexual dimorphism in responses to unfamiliar intruders in the tamarin, Saguinus oedipus

Jeffrey A. French, Charles T. Snowdon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Aspects of social structure in group-living species can be inferred by observing the responses of individuals to unfamiliar animals. This study examined the responses of mated pairs of cotton-top tamarins (Saguinus oedipus oedipus) to presentation of either unfamiliar conspecifics or members of a related tamarin species, the saddle-back tamarin (Saguinus fuscicollis fuscicollis). Male and female responses to intruders differed: resident males threatened, displayed piloerection, approached, and attacked intruders, especially males, while resident females showed increases in suprapubic scentmarking in the presence of intruders. Both males and females discriminated between the species of intruders, exhibiting more threats, scent-marking, piloerection, and approaches in the presence of conspecific intruders. There are pronounced sex differences in the signals and behaviour patterns that are elicited in an aggressive or territorial encounter with unfamiliar conspecifics in this monogamous primate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)822-829
Number of pages8
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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