Abstract # 199:

Scheduled for Saturday, June 23, 2007 11:50 AM-12:05 PM: Session 19 (North Main Hall C/D) Symposium


Family Ties: The Maintenance of Pairbonding in Cooperative Breeding Primates

C. T. Snowdon1 and T. E. Ziegler1,2
1Dept. of Psychology, Univ. of Wisconsin, 1202 W. Johnson St., Madison, WI 53706-1696, USA, 2Wisconsin National Primate Center
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     A close relationship between parents is critical for reproductive success in cooperatively breeding primates. Females cannot rear infants alone and need male assistance for successful infant care. Males invest much energy in infant care and should be secure that the infants are likely their own. Therefore, formation and maintenance of a strong pair bond is a critical foundation to cooperative breeding. Several mechanisms promote good relationships in Callitrichid primates: grooming, maintaining physical or vocal contact, and non-conceptive sex. In captive cotton-top tamarins (Saguinus oedipus) and wild common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus) grooming between mates constitutes much of the daily time budget and in all pairs in both species (N=15), males groomed females more than the reverse. In tamarins non-conceptive sex, initiated by both sexes, increased significantly following manipulations that might disrupt the pair bond (brief separation from mate, presentation of odors from novel ovulating females). Positive social interaction with mates (huddling, grooming and proximity) correlated positively with prolactin levels in females [N=11, R=0.734, p<0.02] and in a replication both male and female prolactin levels correlated with affiliation behavior [N=8, Males; R=0.714, Females R=0.67, ps<0.05]. Grooming and non-conceptive sex also increase endorphins and oxytocin suggesting that affiliative behavior between mates provides physiological rewards that reinforces and maintains the pair bond. Supported by MH035215 and RR000167.