Fecal testosterone and cortisol levels were analyzed from six wild male muriquis ( Brachyteles arachnoides ) over a 19-month period at the Estação Biológica de Caratinga in Minas Gerais, Brazil, to investigate the hormonal correlates of seasonal sexual behavior and environmental conditions. Group mean testosterone levels based on weekly samples from the six males did not differ between copulatory and noncopulatory periods or between rainy and dry seasons. Cortisol levels did change with copulatory periods, and were significantly higher during the second dry season, when mating continued following an exceptionally heavy rainy season, than during the first dry season, when mating ceased. Males exhibited individual variation in the timing of their hormone shifts relative to their sexual activity, but neither hormone levels nor sexual activity were related to male age. Despite individual differences in the timing of testosterone fluctuations around the onset and offset of the copulatory season, all males exhibited elevated cortisol concentrations following a slight increase in testosterone at the beginning of the copulatory season. Both the lack of significant changes in testosterone levels with the onset of the rainy and copulatory season and the lack of prebreeding increases in cortisol may be related to the low levels of overt aggression displayed by male muriquis over access to mates.
Hormones and Behavior – Elsevier
Published: Apr 1, 1999
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