Abstract # 199:

Scheduled for Saturday, August 20, 2005 10:15 AM-10:30 AM: Session 14 (Mayfair Room) Oral Presentation


FLOATING LIMB ACTIVITY IS ASSOCIATED WITH SELF-BITING IN FOUR MONKEY SPECIES (MACACA MULATTA, M. FASCICULARIS, M. NEMESTRINA, AND Papio cynocephalus)

K. L. Bentson, H. B. Montgomery, R. U. Bellanca, G. H. Lee, J. P. Thom and C. M. Crockett
Washington National Primate Res. Ctr., University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-7330, USA
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     Floating limb activity (FLA), the seemingly nonvolitional elevation of a limb, has been described anecdotally in some nonhuman primates. At Washington National Primate Research Center (WaNPRC), FLA is seen primarily in late afternoon. FLA is often accompanied by slow repetitive brushing of the coat by digits of the elevated limb. In that form, FLA may look harmless or even peaceful. However, in 2003, the WaNPRC Psychological Well-being Program staff began to recognize that some monkeys that engage in the potentially or actually injurious behavior of self-biting also do FLA. Additionally, some monkeys doing FLA were later observed to self-bite. The staff kept a record for 1 year of all monkeys doing FLA, which was defined as: At least one unsupported leg is elevated without apparent volition and the monkey 1) appears to notice it, then bites it, threatens it, or looks surprised; or 2) appears to notice the leg and puts it down, but the leg ascends again within a minute; or 3) holds its toes at or above shoulder level for at least 5 seconds. More than 100 monkeys (about 10% of the animals housed at WaNPRC; percentages vary by species, age, and project assignment) engaged in FLA within the year. As of 4 months after completion of the FLA list, more than 70% of the FLA monkeys have been observed to self-bite. While FLA may often appear harmless, these observations suggest that FLA is a possible indicator of a more serious behavior disorder. NIH RR00166.