Coping strategies in captive capuchin monkeys (Sapajus spp.)

Renata Ferreira, Michael T Mendl, Paulo Wagner, Talita Aruajo, Daniela Nunes, Antonieta Mafra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
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Studies on diverse species indicate the existence of individual differences in stress coping strategies labelled as ‘proactive’ and ‘reactive’. Identifying taxonomic distribution of such coping strategies is fundamental to evolutionary models and to management of captive animals. Capuchin monkeys (Sapajus spp.) are neotropical primates noted for their cognitive skills and behavioural plasticity. The capuchin clade faces increasing threats from Human Induced Rapid Environment Change, and a growing number of animals are kept in rescue centers and zoos. Based on an ethogram with 28 behavioural categories, we employed Principal Component Analysis to explore differences in behaviour potentially indicative of stress (BPIS) in a sample of 123 captive brown capuchins. We identified five principal components summarising BPIS and labelled as: Restless, Self-narcotizing/fear, Self-protection, Stereotyped, and Help-seek. Multivariate GLM and regression analyses indicated no sex differences. It was not possible to map the five components onto the five personality dimensions recently described for capuchins. However, two of the patterns (Restless and Self-protection) parallel the two coping strategies described in several other species (Proactive and Reactive), and may reflect stress-reactivity that is conserved across species.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-127
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Animal Behaviour Science
Early online date12 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


  • Behavioural syndromes
  • Psychopathologies
  • Capuchin monkeys
  • Sapajus spp.
  • Welfare
  • Behavioural plasticity


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