Wark, J. D., Amendolagine, L., Lukas, K. E. et al. 2016. Fecal glucocorticoid metabolite responses to management stressors and social change in four species of callitrichine monkeys. Primates 57(2), 267-277.
The use of enzyme immunoassays (EIA) for the non-invasive measurement of glucocorticoids provides a valuable tool for monitoring health and welfare in sensitive species. We validated methods for measuring fecal glucocorticoid metabolites (FGM) using the response to veterinary exams for four species of callitrichine monkeys: golden lion tamarin (Leontopithecus rosalia, n = 7), callimico (Callimico goeldii, n = 2), pied tamarin (Saguinus bicolor, n = 2), and white-fronted marmoset (Callithrix geoffroyi, n = 2). Routine veterinary exams were performed for the golden lion tamarins and callimicos, but exams for the pied tamarins and white-fronted marmosets were prompted by the death of a social partner. Prior to veterinary exams, fecal markers were evaluated to allow collection of individual samples and estimate approximate gut transit times. Based on this assessment, individual markers were fed in the afternoon, and fresh morning fecal samples were collected throughout this study. Following a veterinary exam, FGM increased roughly 3- to 28-fold above baseline in all species. Although FGM for most species returned to baseline concentrations within 24–48 h, the marmosets exhibited a progressive increase in FGM after an exam in response to the death of a breeding female and subsequent hand-rearing of a neonate. Individual differences were noted in the callimicos and tamarins, with higher baseline FGM levels in females vs. males, although small sample size precluded a clear determination of sex differences. To our knowledge, this is the first study to measure FGM in callimicos and white-fronted marmosets and the first to compare FGM across callitrichine species. These findings highlight the broad applicability of this EIA to measure the stress response of callitrichine monkeys. The progressive increase in FGM in the marmosets during hand-rearing of a neonate suggests that care should be taken to minimize this disturbance as much as possible.