• Characterization and social correlates of fecal testosterone and cortisol excretion in wild male Saguinus mystax

      Huck, Maren; Löttker, Petra; Heymann, Eckhard W.; Heistermann, Michael; Abteilung Soziobiologie, Deutsches Primatenzentrum, Göttingen, Germany; Lehrstuhl für Verhaltensforschung, Universität Bielefeld, Germany; Institut für Neuro- & Verhaltensbiologie, Abt. Verhaltensbiologie, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Germany; Abteilung für Reproduktionsbiology, Deutsches Primatenzentrum, Göttingen, Germany (2005)
      Reproductive success in male primates can be influenced by testosterone (T) and cortisol (C). We examined them in wild Saguinus mystax via fecal hormone analysis. Firstly, we wanted to characterize male hormonal status over the course of the year. Further we tested the influence of the reproductive status of the breeding female, social instability, and intergroup encounter rates on T levels, comparing the results with predictions of the challenge hypothesis (Wingfield et al., 1990). We also tested for interindividual differences in hormonal levels, possibly related to social or breeding status. We collected data during a 12-mo study on 2 groups of moustached tamarins at the Estación Biológica Quebrada Blanco in northeastern Peru. We found fairly similar T and C levels over the course of the year for all males. Yet an elevation of T shortly after the birth of infants, during the phase of ovarian inactivity of the group’s breeding female, was evident. Hormonal levels were not significantly elevated during a phase of social instability, did not correlate with intergroup encounter rates, and did not differ between breeding and nonbreeding males. Our results confirm the challenge hypothesis (Wingfield et al., 1990). The data suggest that reproductive competition inmoustached tamarins is not based on endocrinological, but instead on behavioral mechanisms, possibly combined with sperm competition.