A pilot study of the social correlates of levels of urinary cortisol, prolactin, and testosterone in wild long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis)
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- van Schaik, C.P., van Noordwijk, M.A., van Bragt, T. et al. Primates (1991) 32: 345. doi:10.1007/BF02382675
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Urine samples were collected from individuals in a wild population of Sumatran long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis), and the levels of cortisol, immunoreactive prolactin, and (for males) testosterone were determined. The amount of foraging during the 2 hr preceding urine collection were found to affect the levels of urinary cortisol, but not those of the other hormones. Immigration into a new group and having one's infant kidnapped led to increased levels of cortisol. Levels of cortisol and testosterone were correlated both within and between individuals, whereas prolactin varied independently. The effects of age, reproductive status, and social rank on the mean values of individuals were also examined. Lactating females had higher prolactin levels than non-lactating ones; reproductive state interacted with the age effect on prolactin and possibly cortisol. No effects of social status were found in spite of a small, but consistent effect of rank on birth rate in this population. Among males, age and rank are strongly linked. The low ranking old males had increased levels of cortisol, even though the younger high-ranking males were involved in the fiercest conflicts.