Abstract # 198:

Scheduled for Saturday, August 20, 2005 10:00 AM-10:15 AM: Session 14 (Mayfair Room) Oral Presentation


Comparing pair-housing options for caged rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta)

K. Baker1, M. Bloomsmith2,3, V. Schoof1, K. Neu2, M. Maloney1, C. Griffis2, M. Martinez4 and A. Clay2,3
1Tulane National Primate Research Center, 18703 Three Rivers Rd., Covington, LA 70433, USA, 2Yerkes National Primate Research Center, 3Georgia Institute of Technology, 4The University of Texas
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     Strategies for providing pair housing for laboratory macaques require direct comparison in order to determine the style that most benefits well-being, especially in the context of research protocols that may preclude continuous full pairing. Baseline behavioral data were collected on 20 singly-housed adult rhesus macaques, 6 males and 14 females, all mother-reared. Isosexual pairs were then formed, and pairs were housed in three forms of pair caging, balanced for order (6-8 weeks per phase): FC (full contact: sharing adjacent cages), PC (protected contact: access through perforated panels), and IC (intermittent contact: full pairings separated several days/week). 370 h of behavioral data were compared using Friedman tests; significant results were followed by paired Wilcoxon tests. While all forms of pair housing increased affiliative behavior, levels were lower in PC than FC or IC. Levels of inactivity and anxiety-related behaviors were higher in PC than FC or IC, and FC reduced anxiety-related behaviors from baseline. FC and IC decreased inactivity and increased aggression from baseline; aggression occurred at higher levels in IC than PC. Abnormal behavior was affected only in female subjects, with a decrease from baseline only in IC, and higher levels in PC than FC. Results suggest that periodic separation may not detract from the benefits of pair housing for rhesus macaques, but protected contact housing may, balanced only by decreased aggression.