Effects of Dominance on Feeding Success and Single-file Processions in Ringtailed (Lemur catta) and Redfronted (Eulemur fulvus fufus) Lemurs
Hohn, Suzanne M.
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Although it was once believed that female dominance was characteristic to most or all lemur species, recent studies have now shown this belief to be incorrect. A spectrum of dominance exists among lemur species, from the ringtailed lemur, a true female dominated society; to the red fronted lemur, a species without an obvious dominance structure. Dominance relationships will influence many aspects of a society, including feeding success and group movement in single-file processions. This study examined those two aspects in ringtailed and redfronted lemurs. It was expected that female ring tails would have a higher feeding success and be at the beginning of processions more than males. Redfronted lemurs were expected to show no significant differences between the sexes in either aspect of behavior. Results for the ringtails were as expected for the most part. Females in one of the two groups examined had higher feeding success than males. In processions, female ringtails were at the beginning and in the middle more often than males, while males were more often at the end or not in the procession. Results from the ringtailed observations may relate to the occurrence of male deference in some lemurs. Surprising results appeared in data from the redfronted lemurs. Females fed significantly more in the first ten minutes than did males. Also, females were at the beginning of processions more frequently than males. These results indicate that further study of the red fronted lemur behavior may help to determine whether females show dominance, perhaps not aggressively but in other subtle ways, which influence feeding or processions.
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