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Am J Phys Anthropol. 2002 Mar;117(3):218-27.

Morphological and hormonal parameters in two species of macaques: impact of seasonal breeding.

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Department of Anthropology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8277, USA.


To compare physiological and developmental differences between two cogeneric species that differ by seasonal vs. aseasonal breeding, values for morphological measurements, testicular volume, serum testosterone, estradiol, and dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate levels were obtained from 53 rhesus during the early breeding season, as well as 41 pig-tailed macaque males maintained at the Tulane Primate Center. The two species exhibited similar body size, testosterone, and estradiol levels, but differed substantially in testicular volume (3.00 +/- 1.7 vs. 1.72 +/- 1.3 cc), abdominal skinfold measures (15.7 +/- 9.2 vs. 9.0 +/- 7.7 mm), and DHEA-S levels (18.0 +/- 11.7 vs. 7.6 +/- 5.4 microg/dl). Significant interaction effects for species by age group were found for weight, tricep circumference, length, and estradiol level. In addition, length was more closely related to testicular volume among rhesus compared to pig-tailed macaques, suggesting different developmental patterns between the species. Predictors of hormonal levels differed between the two species. In the rhesus, estradiol levels were related to testicular volume and testosterone levels while there were no anthropometric predictors of testosterone or DHEA-S. For the pig-tailed macaques, testicular volume was related to tricep circumference, testosterone to triceps skinfold and testicular volume, and estradiol to weight. It is argued that rhesus have larger testes for body size and more abdominal fat deposits during the early breeding season relative to pig-tailed macaques reflecting the increased demands of sperm competition in a seasonally breeding species. Hormonal differences associated with the difference in breeding system appear to be primarily related to adrenal rather than testicular activity.

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