Sherenco, K. D., Weed, J. L., Tustin, G. W. et al. 2012. Pair formations and management within a captive breeding Aotus colony over a ten year time period. American Journal of Primatology 74(S1), 44. (35th Meeting of the American Society of Primatologists Scientific Program, Abstract #60)
Providing social housing that mimics the species' natural group composition should be an aim for all captive environments. Aotus are nocturnal, monogamist primates whose offspring (both male and female) disperse at sexual maturity, living solitarily or within same sex groups until establishing a new family group. However, little to no data exists that explains longevity of monogamous pairs. This paper will discuss pair formation techniques which are done using a standard protocol that starts with visual barriers allowing olfactory, auditory, and limited tactical contact. After three days the pair is allowed full contact for a limited time across several days, until the pair is observed consistently interacting in an affiliative fashion. If the pair does not interact or interacts aggressively the pairing attempt is stopped. Social formation data from 2002-2012 (n=275 pair formations), shows an overall success rate of 78.5%, with A. azarae being significantly harder to pair than A. nancymaae or A. vociferans (sigma squared=11.3, df=2, p<0.05). Of those successful pairings 32.9% were separated later (mean=1424 +/- 122 days) due to social incompatibility, 7.7% due to health-related issues and 2.6% due to colony management procedures. The fact that there was a high initial success rate of pairings but then later incompatibility warrants further investigation. Future research comparing captive and wild pair compatibility could give a more detailed understanding of this genus.