Abstract # 144:

Scheduled for Sunday, September 20, 2009 06:30 PM-09:00 PM: Session 14 (Mission Bay Ballroom CDE) Poster Presentation


A. K. Birnie1,2, A. S. Smith1,2 and J. A. French1,2,3
1University of Nebraska at Omaha, Callitrichid Research Center, 419 Allwine Hall, Omaha, NE 68182, USA, 2Department of Psychology, 3Department of Biology

Previous findings in monogamous rodents have suggested that heterosexual pair bonding may influence and be responsive to glucocorticoid levels, but this interaction has not been evaluated in heterosexual primate pairs. We examined the interaction between glucocorticoids and primate social bonds by monitoring urinary corstisol (CORT) levels and social interactions of newly formed heterosexual pairs of Geoffroy’s marmoset monkeys (Callithrix geoffroyi). Each week, one to three urine samples were collected before the daylight phase at 0700 to 0800 hrs over a total of 9 heterosexual pairings. Urinary CORT levels differed significantly across the pair bonding period as CORT levels during the first 10 days were higher than all other 10-day blocks [F(8,96)=2.11, p=0.042; t’s>=2.19, p’s<0.05] except the third and fourth blocks, which were lower, though not significantly. No sex differences were found. Male sexual behaviors [F’s(8,136)>=2.93, p’s<0.01], male and female sexual solicitations [F(8,136)=3.08, p<0.01], male and female genital sniffing [F(8,136)=3.10, p<0.01] and time spent in proximity [F(8,64)=4.09, p=0.001] all differed significantly across time blocks, all tending to decrease with time. Correlations between CORT and sexual behaviors and solicitations were not significant. However, male CORT levels during the first 10 day block were negatively correlated with time spent in proximity during the same period [r(5)=-0.86, p=0.029]. These results do not suggest a relationship between urinary CORT and sexual behaviors, but suggest that male CORT levels may be influenced by or respond to other social cues during pair bonding in callitrichine primates.