Individual Behavioral differences and health of golden-headed lion tamarins, Leontopithecus chrysomelas

Thaise D S O Costa, Sergio L Nogueira-Filho, Kristel De Vleeschouwer, Leonardo Oliveira, Mariana Bernadette de Sousa, Michael T Mendl, Lilian Catenacci, Selene Nogueira*

*Corresponding author for this work

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

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Individual behavioral differences may influence how animals cope with altered environments and hence how these impact on their health status. We investigated the relationship between individual behavior of free-living golden-headed lion tamarins in one context (responding to a novel object) and their habitat use and health status (endoparasitism, clinical condition, fecal glucocorticoid metabolites). Four groups lived in landscapes with different levels of human disturbance: two in degraded forest fragments in agricultural matrix (DFAM), and two in cocoa agroforestry system (cabruca) in Atlantic Forest of South Bahia, Brazil. Using a subjective ratings approach, tamarins’ responses to a novel object were classified according to a single derived variable, ‘confidence’, with some individuals being ‘high confident’ (‘bold’, ‘calm’, low ‘stressfulness’ and ‘fearfulness’) and others ‘low confident. Both response types occurred in both environments. ‘High confident’ individuals in DFAM landscapes spent less time foraging for animal prey than those in cabruca. Only DFAM individuals showed intestinal parasite infections, and their parasite loads were correlated with the number of grooming partners they had, suggesting an association between grooming and infection transfer. Glucocorticoid concentrations did not differ between animals from different landscapes. Individual Behavioral responses to novelty may thus be associated with tamarins foraging Behavior in human modified habitats, and social behavior may be linked to the likelihood of parasitic infection. Individual Behavior in a test situation may thus have some predictive value for Behavior in a free-living context, and for its knock-on health consequences, but the causal direction of any links remains to be determined.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican Journal of Primatology
Early online date3 Mar 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Mar 2020


  • conservation medicine
  • coping styles
  • parasites
  • primates
  • temperament


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