A foraging advantage for dichromatic marmosets (Callithrix geoffroyi) at low light intensity

Caine, Nancy G, Osorio, Daniel and Mundy, Nicholas I (2010) A foraging advantage for dichromatic marmosets (Callithrix geoffroyi) at low light intensity. Biology Letters, 6 (1). pp. 36-38. ISSN 1744-9561

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Most New World monkey species have both dichromatic and trichromatic individuals present in the same population. The selective forces acting to maintain the variation are hotly debated and are relevant to the evolution of the 'routine' trichromatic colour vision found in catarrhine primates. While trichromats have a foraging advantage for red food compared with dichromats, visual tasks which dichromats perform better have received less attention. Here we examine the effects of light intensity on foraging success among marmosets. We find that dichromats outperform trichomats when foraging in shade, but not in sun. The simplest explanation is that dichromats pay more attention to achromatic cues than trichromats. However, dichromats did not show a preference for foraging in shade compared with trichromats. Our results reveal several interesting parallels with a recent study in capuchin monkeys (Cebus capucinus), and suggest that dichromat advantage for certain tasks contributes to maintenance of the colour vision polymorphism.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Evolution, Behaviour and Environment
Depositing User: Daniel ColacoOsorio
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 20:32
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2012 08:29
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/26473
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