Sexual behavior and extragroup copulations in a wild population of common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus).
Sexual behavior and mating patterns are described for 3 free-ranging groups of common marmosets living in a coastal forest in northeastern Brazil. Each group contained 2 breeding females. Within groups, sexual behavior was generally restricted to breeding females and a single behaviorally dominant male. Of 101 mounts and copulations, 24 involved pairings of individuals from 2 different groups. Extragroup sexual behavior was performed by both breeding and nonbreeding group members, and 65% of all adults mounted or copulated with an extragroup individual at least once. Sexual behavior occurred throughout the female reproductive cycle but was significantly more frequent during an 11-day 'conception period'. Thus, while female marmosets show no physical signs of estrus, both males and females likely do have some information about the timing of ovulation. Mating patterns in this population included both polygyny and monogamy and varied between groups and over time.
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