Abstract # 13174 Event # 35:

Scheduled for Thursday, August 9, 2018 10:45 AM-11:00 AM: (Chula Vista ) Oral Presentation


M. R. Berg, A. Heagerty and K. Coleman
Oregon National Primate Research Center, 505 NW 185th Avenue, Beaverton, Oregon 97006, USA
     Pair housing is considered one of the best ways of promoting psychological wellbeing for caged macaques. However, partner incompatibility can result in stress or aggression. While studies have analyzed the role of variables such as weight, age, and gender on pair success, few have examined the relationship between physiological parameters and pair compatibility. Oxytocin is known to promote affiliative non-sexual behavior in various primate species and may serve as a potential indicator of pair compatibility. The goal for this study was to examine the correlation between oxytocin and prosocial behaviors in isosexual male pairs of rhesus macaques. We hypothesized that there would be a positive correlation between oxytocin and social behavior. We collected blood oxytocin samples on 28 pairs of monkeys (n=56) that had lived together for at least one month. We simultaneously collected behavioral data on the pair using focal sampling techniques (8, 10 min observations). Behaviors coded included close social contact, grooming, proximity and aggression. Oxytocin varied among individuals, but was highly correlated between members of a pair (r=0.85, P=0.0). Additionally, monkeys in pairs that demonstrated high prosociality had significantly higher oxytocin than from pairs with low levels of social behavior (F(1,54)=6.4, P=0.015). We are currently examining this relationship in females. Our results suggest that oxytocin may play a role in the quality of isosexual pairs of male macaques.