The effect of social environment on estrogen excretion, scent marking, and sociosexual behavior in tamarins (Saguinus oedipus)

Jeffrey A. French, David H. Abbott, Charles T. Snowdon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

101 Scopus citations

Abstract

The influence of various social environments on estrogen excretion, scent marking, and the expression of sociosexual behavior was examined in cotton‐top tamarins (Sanguinus o. oedipus). Behavioral observations and urine collections were conducted on five females while first housed in their natal family group or in the presence of another cycling adult female and then while housed with an unrelated adult male in a separate cage. Behavioral observations only were conducted on males in natal family groups and while housed with an unrelated adult female. Levels of urinary estrone and estradiol for females were measured by specific radioimmunoassays. Females housed in family groups or in the presence of an adult cycling female showed low and noncyclic patterns of estrogen excretion. Removal from these environments resulted in a rapid increase in urinary estrone and estradiol and three of five females demonstrated cyclic patterns of estrone excretion. Rates of anogenital marking in females were elevated after the social change, and sexual interactions, virtually absent in the original environments, were observed in all five females. In males, similar manipulations of the social environment affected the expression of sexual behavior, but not scent marking. The social environment, therefore has a profound impact on fertility and sociosexual behavior in cotton‐top tamarin groups, with implications for callitrichid social structure and behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-167
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Primatology
Volume6
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1984

Keywords

  • Saguinus oedipus
  • fertility suppression
  • scent marking
  • sexual behavior
  • social environment
  • tamarins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology

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