Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Gebo, Daniel Lee, 1955-

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Anthropology


Leontopithecus; Sexual behavior in animals; Callimico; Melengestrol acetate--Psychological effect; Contraceptive drug implants


A comparison among species was performed on twelve pairs of New World primates to determine if pair bonding behaviors were influenced by chronic progestin contraception in the form of subcutaneous melengestrol acetate (MGA) implants. In six of the pairs, the females were implanted with the MGA implant, while the other six were reproductive pairs. The species studied were Callimico goeldii, Leontopithecus rosalia, and Leontopithecus chrysomelas, with monogamous pairs being housed at the Brookfield Zoo, Brookfield, IL. The animals are all part of ongoing captive breeding programs in which genetic manipulation is necessary to sustain healthy gene pools. With the rising importance of captive breeding programs to save endangered animals, and their increasing successes, safe and reversible forms of contraception are needed to control for inbreeding and surplus animals. After recording 74 hours of behavioral data on 25 variables for 12 pairs, no significant effects of contraception could be shown for the behavior of males or females toward their respective mate. Treatment with MGA can be recommended for all three species studied based on its ability to provide contraception without causing profound social disruption. However, further research is needed on other species before this form of contraception should be widely advocated.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [81]-94)


v, 95 pages




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