Changes in Social Behavior and Their Hormonal Correlates during Pregnancy in Pig-tailed Macaques

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I conducted a longitudinal study of hormones and social behavior during pregnancy in 8 female pig-tailed macaques (Macaca nemestrina) living in a captive social group. Females exhibited reduced grooming activity after the first month of pregnancy and reduced aggressiveness in the last month. Female-male hindquarter presentations and male-female foot-clasp mounts decreased steadily during pregnancy. The week before parturition was associated with lower involvement in all social activities. Monthly changes in plasma concentrations of estradiol and progesterone are correlated with some changes in sexual behavior and grooming performed by pregnant females. Altogether, the findings suggest that pregnancy does not bring about a major disruption of female social relationships with other group members and that the influence of pregnancy hormones on female affiliative and agonistic behavior is less marked than that previously observed for infant-directed behavior.

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