Bessa Ferreira, V. H., De Paiva Fonseca, E., Chagas, Correia Santos Das, A. C. et al. 2020. Personality traits modulate stress responses after enclosure change of captive capuchin monkeys (Sapajus libidinosus). Applied Animal Behaviour Science 232, 105111.

Husbandry procedures may cause behavioral and physiological changes to animals living in captivity. However, an individual’s reaction is not uniform and may be related to different coping strategies. In this study, we analyzed whether and how 12 adult captive capuchin monkeys (Sapajus libidinosus) varying in four personality axes (‘Feeding’, ‘Sociability’, ‘Exploration’, and ‘Activity’) differed in their stress responses to an enclosure change. Behavioral data and fecal samples of the individuals were collected for two months before (97 h and 246 fecal samples) and 14 days after the enclosure change (52 h and 666 fecal samples). We used Akaike Information Criteria to select the best linear regression models having personality axes and the period after enclosure change as predictive factors and behaviors potentially indicative of stress (BPIS) and levels of fecal glucocorticoid metabolites (FGM) as the response variables. Best models indicate that specific personality axes acted as a buffer and improved individual stress coping, mainly at the physiological level. More sociable and more active individuals did not show the peak of FGM levels as that exhibited by their less sociable and less active counterparts on the first day of the enclosure change. The link between exploration and resilience to acute stress was less clear: more exploratory individuals showed an increase in FGM levels during the first week of enclosure change, while the less exploratory ones showed a later increase, during the second-week post-enclosure change, suggesting a lesser capacity to recover from stressful stimuli in these individuals. The results presented in this study build on growing literature showing that animals differ in their behavioral profiles and that these differences relate to resilience to environmental disturbances, which may impact individual survival and reproduction, resulting in less genetic diversity of captive colonies and increased issues related to research replicability. We argue that these interindividual differences must be considered in husbandry decisions and during research data collection for the sake of animal welfare and reliable science.

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