Abstract # 106:

Scheduled for Friday, June 22, 2007 02:45 PM-03:00 PM: Session 11 (North Main Hall C/D) Oral Presentation

Neuroendocrine Mechanisms of Paternal Behavior in the Titi Monkey (Callicebus cupreus)

C. D. Kitzmann, S. P. Mendoza, W. A. Mason, S. A. Blozis and K. L. Bales
University of California at Davis, Department of Psychology and, California National Primate Research Center, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA
     Male titi monkeys provide extensive paternal care, typically carrying their infants the majority of the time during the infants’ first few months of life; however, substantial variation exists in parenting behavior. To investigate endocrine mechanisms of paternal behavior, we collected data from nine fathers of infant titi monkeys. Urine samples were collected weekly pre- and post-partum to measure levels of estrogen conjugates and pregnanediol; oxytocin and vasopressin were measured from blood samples taken monthly post-partum. Infants were videotaped for three one-hour sessions weekly from birth to three months; tapes were scored for fathers’ paternal behaviors, including carrying duration and frequency of investigation, anogenital licking, and face licking. On average, fathers carried their infants 59% (range = 0-100%) of observation time during week one. Preliminary analysis indicated that oxytocin levels were negatively correlated with percent of focal observation time spent carrying the infant in the first week [Spearman’s r =-0.91, p=0.002]. Mean vasopressin levels in the first three months tended to correlate negatively with frequency of investigating an infant during weeks two through four [Spearman’s r =-0.74, p=0.06]. We also examined patterns of stability and change in paternal hormones from the perinatal period to seven months following birth. These data suggest relationships between male parenting and neuroendocrine hormones. This research was supported by the CNPRC and the Good Nature Institute.