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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014, Article ID 326524, 8 pages
Research Article

Behavioral Adjustments by a Small Neotropical Primate (Callithrix jacchus) in a Semiarid Caatinga Environment

1Departamento de Biologia, Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco, Rua Dom Manoel de Medeiros, s/n, Dois Irmãos, 52171-900 Recife, PE, Brazil
2Departamento de Zoologia, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Avenida Prof. Moraes Rego, No. 1235, Cidade Universitária, 50670-901 Recife, PE, Brazil

Received 25 June 2014; Accepted 14 September 2014; Published 6 November 2014

Academic Editor: Daniel Pessoa

Copyright © 2014 María Fernanda Castellón De la Fuente et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We provide the first information on the behavior of a small primate (Callithrix jacchus) inhabiting a semiarid Caatinga environment in northeastern Brazil. We observed behavioral variations in response to temperature fluctuation throughout the day. Due to the high temperatures, low precipitation, and resource scarcity in the Caatinga, as well as the lack of physiological adaptations (e.g., a highly concentrated urine and a carotid rete to cool down the brain) of these primates, we expected that the common marmosets would exhibit behavioral adjustments, such as a prolonged resting period or the use of a large home range. During the six-month period, we collected 246 hours of behavioral data of two groups (10 individuals) of Callithrix jacchus. Most of the observed behavioral patterns were influenced by temperature fluctuation. Animals rested longer and reduced other activities, such as foraging, when temperatures were higher. Both study groups exploited home ranges of 2.21–3.26 ha, which is within the range described for common marmosets inhabiting the Atlantic Forest. Our findings confirm that common marmosets inhabiting the Caatinga adjust their behavioral patterns to cope with the high temperatures that characterize this environment and highlight their ability to survive across a wide range of different environmental conditions.