Geoffroy's marmosets make alarm calls when they perceive a threat. They have also been observed scent marking. Allogrooming has been observed too, and is thought to contribute to calming the group down after a threat has passed.
Communication Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical
Other Communication Modes: scent marks
Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical
Caine, N. 1998. Cutting Costs in Response to Predatory Threats by Geoffory's Marmosets (Callithrix geoffroyi). American Journal of Primatology, Vol. 46: 187-196.
Passamani, M. 1998. Activity Budget of Geoffroy's Marmoset (Callithrix geoffroyi) in an Atlantic Forest in Southeastern Brazil. American Journal of Primatology, 46: 333-340.
Like many primates, Geoffroy's marmoset is a gregarious, social animal, and typically lives in family groups of eight to ten individuals, consisting of the dominant female, her mate and their offspring, with breeding usually restricted to the dominant pair (2) (5) (6). Young remain within a group, even when adult, and help care for their siblings. These 'helpers' gain valuable breeding experience, which may be used when suitable habitat becomes available for them to establish their own territory, as part of a dominant, monogamous breeding pair (5). Dominance is enforced by scent-marking, scolding, cuffing and eye command. This is accentuated in the female by pheromones produced in her scent glands, which inhibit ovulation in subordinate females, preventing them from breeding as long as they remain within the group (6). The dominant female typically gives birth to twins, although singletons and triplets also occur, after a gestation period of around 140 to 148 days (2) (5) (6). The father carries the young, which are completely dependent for the first two weeks (5) (6). After this, all members of the group take turns in carrying. Infants are weaned and independent by five to six months, by which time they are capable of collecting their own food (6). Sexual maturity is reached at about 15 to 18 months of age (6), and individuals live around 10 years (5). These diurnal, arboreal animals spend the day roaming around territories that may be up to 5 hectares in size, and sleep at night in tree holes or other shelters. Home ranges are overlapping and, although they are not defended, they are marked using scent, which is often smeared around favourite gum holes in trees. The diet includes plant gums and saps, nectar, fruit, insects, invertebrates and other small animals (5). This species has also been known to follow swarms of army ants, which flush many organisms up towards the trees, making them available for the marmosets (8).
The dominant male and female in each group of Geoffroy's marmosets form a monogamous pair bond. Only this pair will breed. Dominant behavior of the breeding female will halt ovulation in other females in the group. This process may be aided by pheromones produced in the scent glands of the dominant female. As a result, subordinate females cannot reproduce while they remain with the group. Such hierarchy is less evident among males. Usually only one male mates with the breeding female, but polyandry (usually rare among mammals) has been observed under certain circumstances.
Pre-copulatory courtship usually begins with sniffing each other's muzzles and genitalia, as well as marking objects, licking, grooming and huddling. These behaviors are also seen in post-copulatory courtship. These behaviors increase as the female reaches estrus.
Female estrus cycles vary from 14 to 21 days. Should a female become pregnant, the gestation lasts about 140 to 148 days. Parturition may take up to an hour. Usually twins are born, but sometimes singletons or triplets occur. The male will assist with the birth by licking the babies before giving them to the mother. Other family members may help to eat the placenta. Post-partum estrus occurs 2 to 14 days after giving birth. Young are weaned by 5 or 6 months and reach sexual maturity between 15 and 18 months.
Breeding interval: There are usually 150 to 152 days between births in Geoffroy's marmosets.
Breeding season: Geoffroy's marmosets breed year round.
Range number of offspring: 1 to 3.
Range gestation period: 140 to 148 days.
Range weaning age: 5 to 6 months.
Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 15 to 18 months.
Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 15 to 18 months.
A female Geoffroy's marmoset will suckle both of her twins at the same time, until the young are weaned. For the first week after young are born, the father carries the babies exclusively. After this, the male will still be the primary carrier, but all members of the family participate in carrying the young. Older siblings assist in the rearing of the younger siblings, by which they learn skills essential to raising their own young in the future. Females primarily provide milk for their young.
Parental Investment: altricial ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Male, Female); pre-independence (Provisioning: Male, Female, Protecting: Male, Female); post-independence association with parents; extended period of juvenile learning
Wakenshaw, V. 1999. The Management and Husbandry of Geoffroy's Marmoset. International Zoo News, 46: 1. Accessed April 04, 2009 at http://www.awionline.org/Lab_animals/biblio/izn-wak.htm.
Geoffrey's marmoset is an exceptionally distinctive monkey, most readily recognised for its conspicuous white cheeks, forehead and throat, which contrast starkly against its elongate black ear-tufts, tan to black face, and dark coat (2). The body is greyish-black mottled with yellow-orange on the upperparts, brown on the underparts, and the long black tail is lightly ringed (2) (4). Like all marmosets, Geoffroy's marmoset has incisor teeth that are specially adapted to carving out small holes in the trunks of trees, through which they drink the sap and gum that oozes out, which are an important food source (5).
Geoffroy's marmosets (Callithrix geoffroyi) are found in southeastern Brazil. They inhabit the state of Espirito Santo and the forested eastern and north-eastern part of the state of Minas Gerais. They are found as far north as the Rio Jequitinhonha and Aracuai and south to near the state border of Espirito and Rio de Janeiro. The population south of Rio Jequitinhonha originated from animals released near the river's mouth in 1975. This population has since spread eastward. A hybrid population of Callithrix penicillata x C. geoffroyi has been found in the Serra da Piedade along the Rio Piracicaba.
Biogeographic Regions: neotropical (Native )
Rylands, A., S. Mendes. 2008. "2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species" (On-line). Callithrix geoffroyi. Accessed March 24, 2009 at www.iucnredlist.ort.
Geoffroy's marmosets are considered "Least Concern" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The population trend for this species is classified as stable. However, widespread destruction is causing their populations to decline. The range of C. geoffroyi was once throughout the Brazilian Atlantic forest, but only about 1% to 5% of this habitat remains. For example, less than 6.8% of the Atlantic forest remains in the state of Minas Gerais. However, C. geoffroyi is considered relatively abundant and inhabits many protected areas. For this reason, their rate of population decline does not warrant a threatened listing. In 1982, Russell Mittermeier recommended that C. geoffroyi be listed as endangered, but studies conducted in 1991 found them to be locally abundant, if patchily distributed. In 1994, 1996, and 2000 C. geoffroyi was listed as vulnerable by the IUCN. Today, it is not considered under serious threat.
US Federal List: no special status
CITES: no special status
State of Michigan List: no special status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern