Group living is a source of stress and an individuals’ social environment has been shown to have a significant effect on its health and well-being. However, little is known about how different social organizations affect the stress levels of their members. Is living in a hierarchical society more or less stressful than living in a more tolerant structure? Here, we assess cortisol concentrations in the hair of two macaque species with radically different dominance styles: the egalitarian Tonkean macaque (Macaca Tonkeana) and the despotic long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis). Hair was sampled in winter and again in late spring in two mixed-sex groups of 22 Tonkean macaques and 9 long-tailed macaques; Hair cortisol concentrations were significantly higher in the egalitarian Tonkean macaques than in the despotic long-tailed macaques, ranging from 161.13 to 938.8 pg/mg (mean ± SD 349.67 ± 126.22) and from 134.46 to 339.86 pg/mg (mean ± SD 231.2 ± 44.24), respectively. There was no difference between male and female cortisol concentrations, but hair cortisol increased with age in males. Dominance rank certainty was lower among female Tonkean macaques compared to long-tailed macaques. Our results suggest that species differences in dominance styles may translate into differences in long-term cortisol concentrations. We suggest that the higher cortisol concentrations in Tonkean macaques could be linked to the instability and lack of predictability and control around social relationships.
|Journal||STRESS-THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL ON THE BIOLOGY OF STRESS|
|Early online date||10 Nov 2021|
|Publication status||Published - 10 Nov 2021|