Abstract # 72:

Scheduled for Friday, June 20, 2008 04:00 PM-04:10 PM: Session 9 (Meeting Room 2DEF) Oral Presentation

Benefits of isosexual pairing of rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) vary with sex and are limited by protected contact but not by frequent separation

K. C. Baker1, M. Bloomsmith2, K. Neu2, C. Griffis2, B. Oettinger1, V. Schoof3, A. Clay2 and M. Maloney1
1Tulane National Primate Res. Center, 18703 Three Rivers Rd., Covington, LA 70433, USA, 2Yerkes National Primate Research Center, 3Department of Anthropology, Tulane University
     Determining the most beneficial pair housing option for adult rhesus macaques requires direct comparison of strategies. Baseline behavioral data in single housing were collected on 20 males and 34 females housed at two National Primate Research Centers. Isosexual pairs were introduced and then housed in three conditions (6-8 weeks each) balanced for order: FC (full contact: sharing adjacent cages), PC (protected contact: limited contact through perforated panels), and IC (intermittent contact: full contact with frequent separations). 1164 h of data were compared across conditions using multivariate ANOVAs for repeated measures with sex and facility as grouping factors. The overall MANOVA showed a trend toward significance [F(4,33)=4.87; p<0.06] for a phase by sex by facility interaction. Planned univariate tests showed that anxiety-related behavior fell in FC [F(1,36)=20.71; p<0.0001] and IC [F(1,36)=34.65; p<0.00001] but not PC [F(1,36)=1.50; NS]. Affiliation in social housing was significantly lower in PC than FC [F(1,36)=4.71; p<0.05] and IC [F(1,36)=36.95; p<0.00001]. Among females, abnormal behavior fell from baseline in all phases [FC: F(1,36)=10.74; p<0.005; PC: F(1,36)5.58; p<0.05; IC: F(1,36)=10.18; p<0.005] but to a lesser degree in PC than FC [F(1,36)=6.44; p<0.05] and IC (F(1,36)=3.91; p<0.05). None of these results varied by facility, and none of the 11 behavioral variables explored suggested an advantage of PC. Both sexes benefit from pair housing; frequent separations do not detract from these benefits but protected contact does.