Abstract # 13297 Event # 62:

Scheduled for Thursday, August 22, 2019 03:15 PM-03:30 PM: (Room 325) Oral Presentation


M. R. Bowen, C. Miles, R. Hegseth, C. Anderson, M. L. Langford and C. K. Wolovich
Florida Southern College, 111 Lake Hollingsworth Dr., Lakeland, Florida 33801, USA

Many mammals discriminate among conspecifics using chemical cues. Recent work in bats, meerkats, and hyenas suggest that the microbiota on scent glands contribute to the variability of chemical signatures. Despite previous research into olfactory communication of primates, few studies have examined the bacterial communities on scent glands. Monogamous owl monkeys (Aotus nancymaae) regularly scent mark using subcaudal glands, and their glandular secretions differ between sexes and vary with age and kinship. We aimed to identify the microbiota on the subcaudal glands of owl monkeys to determine if bacterial communities vary in a similar manner. We swabbed the subcaudal glands of adult owl monkeys (n = 12 males; 12 females) at the DuMond Conservancy (Miami, FL) using positive reinforcement. We isolated bacterial strains from these swabs (n = 141 total swabs) and used 16S rRNA gene sequencing to identify species. Bacterial communities from both male and female subcaudal glands are diverse and include species from Orders Bacillales, Xanthomonadales, and Caulobacterales. Our findings offer insight into the origins of the metabolites used for chemical signaling in a nocturnal primate. Because mated pairs of owl monkeys exhibit partner marking and overmarking, they may have glandular microbiota most like that of their partners. If these signals indicate pair status or function in mate-guarding, then they would be vital in the maintenance of monogamy.