Abstract # 226:

Scheduled for Monday, September 19, 2011 11:15 AM-11:30 AM: Session 30 (Meeting Room 410) Oral Presentation


EVALUATING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HAIR LOSS AND BEHAVIOR IN CAPTIVE NONHUMAN PRIMATES

A. L. Martin1,2, J. E. Perlman1 and M. A. Bloomsmith1
1Yerkes National Primate Res. Ctr., Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30329, USA, 2School of Psychology, Georgia Institute of Technology
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Alopecia in captive primates raises welfare concerns and has been linked to physiological, environmental, seasonal and behavioral causes. The quantitative behavioral data collection system at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center includes twice annual hair scoring and three times weekly one-zero sampling for abnormal behaviors on indoor-housed primates. The present study used a multivariate analysis of variance to compare the expression of hair plucking, stereotypies, self-injurious, and other abnormal behaviors in rhesus macaques (N=846) during an 8-week period prior to hair scoring to determine if hair loss varies with the expression of problematic behaviors. While the overall model was significant (F (13, 832) = 2.13, p = 0.01), post-hoc analysis showed that only the behavior of hair plucking differed between the two groups. Animals with hair loss (defined as having hair covering less than 75% of their bodies) exhibited hair-plucking behavior more often (M = 0.76% of observations) than those without hair loss (M = 0.07% of observations, F (1,844) =25.64, p<.001). These findings support the notion that alopecia is associated with hair plucking, but not other abnormal behaviors, in this population. However, given previous research that correlated hairplucking and other self-directed behaviors with self injury, more research is needed to determine whether animals exhibiting alopecia should be closely monitored for the display of other abnormal behaviors.