Rothwell, E. S., Carp, S. B., Savidge, L. E. et al. 2020. Relationship tenure differentially influences pair-bond behavior in male and female socially monogamous titi monkeys (Callicebus cupreus). American Journal of Primatology 82(10), e23181.
Pair-bonded primates have uniquely enduring relationships and partners engage in a suite of behaviors to maintain these close bonds. In titi monkeys, pair bond formation has been extensively studied, but changes across relationship tenure remain unstudied. We evaluated differences in behavioral indicators of pair bonding in newly formed (~6 months paired, n = 9) compared to well-established pairs (average 3 years paired, n = 8) of titi monkeys (Callicebus cupreus) as well as sex differences within the pairs. We hypothesized that overall males would contribute more to maintenance than females, but that the pattern of maintenance behaviors would differ between newly formed and well-established pairs. Each titi monkey (N = 34) participated in a partner preference test (PPT), where the subject was placed in a middle test cage with grated windows separating the subject from the partner on one side and an opposite-sex stranger on the other side. During this 150-min behavioral test, we quantified four key behaviors: time in proximity to the partner or stranger as well as aggressive displays toward the partner or stranger. Overall, we found different behavioral profiles representing newly formed and well-established pair-bond relationships in titi monkeys and male-biased relationship maintenance. Males spent ∼40% of their time in the PPT maintaining proximity to the female partner, regardless of relationship tenure. Males from well-established bonds spent less time (14%) near the female stranger compared to males from newly formed bonds (21%) at the trend level. In contrast, females from well-established bonds spent less (23%) time near the male partner in the PPT compared to females from newly formed bonds (47%). Aggressive displays were more frequent in newly formed bonds compared to well-established bonds, especially for females. Scan sampling for homecage affiliation showed that newly formed pairs were more likely to be found tail twining than well-established pairs.