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Alopecia in three macaque species housed in a laboratory environment


  • Conflicts of interest: None.


Alopecia is a persistent problem in captive macaque populations and despite recent interest, no factors have been identified that can unequivocally explain the presence of alopecia in a majority of cases. Seasonal, demographic, and environmental factors have been identified as affecting alopecia presentation in rhesus macaques, the most widely studied macaque species. However, few studies have investigated alopecia rates in other macaque species. We report alopecia scores over a period of 12 months for three macaque species (Macaca nemestrina, M. mulatta, and M. fascicularis) housed at three indoor facilities within the Washington National Primate Research Center (WaNPRC) in Seattle. Clear species differences emerged with cynomolgus (M. fascicularis) showing the lowest alopecia rates and pigtails (M. nemestrina) the highest rates. Further analysis of pigtail and rhesus (M. mulatta) macaques revealed that sex effects were apparent for rhesus but not pigtails. Age and seasonal effects were evident for both species. In contrast to previous reports, we found that older animals (over 10 years of age) had improved alopecia scores in comparison to younger adults. This is the first report on alopecia rates in pigtail macaques and the first comparison of alopecia scores in pigtail, cynomolgus, and rhesus macaques housed under similar conditions. Am. J. Primatol. 76:325–334, 2014. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.