The behaviour and ecology of the buffy-headed marmoset, Callithrix flaviceps (O. Thomas, 1903)
This thesis presents the results of the first long-term field study of the buffy-headed marmoset, Callirhrix flaviceps, a rare primate species with a small natural range in southeastern Brazil. The introductory discussion presents the species in the context of a review of the available literature on the taxonomy, evolution, behaviour and ecology of the primates of the family Callitrichidae. The study animals, study site and methodology are then described. A detailed description of seasonal fluctuations in the abundance and distribution of dietary resources at the site provides a frame of reference for the analysis of the study group's behaviour. General patterns in the group's use of time and space are outlined in the context of these variables and comparisons are made with other callitrichid species. A number of behavioural strategies are identified. A more detailed analysis of seasonal patterns in the group's foraging and feeding behaviour emphasizes the systematic nature of its exploitation of resources. The gum-feeding adaptation of the marmosets is seen as having far-reaching implications for many aspects of their behaviour and ecology. Behavioural specialisations for the capture of certain types of prey and the exploitation of secondary and disturbed forest habitats are also proposed. It is concluded that most features of the group's foraging behaviour support predictions drawn from optimality models, in the context of an overall 'time-minimising' strategy in particular. As much of the behavioural repertoire of this species appears to be broadly similar to that of other callitrichids, these findings offer a number of important insights into their ecological adaptations.