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Keywords:

  • Eulemur mongoz;
  • Lemuridae;
  • activity pattern;
  • cathemerality;
  • annual variation;
  • ecology

Abstract

Results of a 10 month study of the mongoose lemur (Eulemur mongoz) at Anjamena are presented. The activity pattern is documented in detail for both wet and dry seasons based on observations conducted over the entire 24 h period. E. Mongoz was found to be cathemeral throughout the year but exhibited shifts towards more diurnal activity in the wet season and more nocturnal activity in the dry season. The cathemeral activity pattern in the mongoose lemur appears to be coordinated with sunrise, sunset, and day length and modulated by an inhibitory effect of low nocturnal light intensity in the forest during the wet season, resulting in mainly diurnal activity. Temperature and rainfall may also influence the activity pattern. Few advantages to food-related behavior appear to derive from this activity pattern, although resource accessibility may be enhanced by nocturnal behavior in the dry season, leading to reduction in interspecific competition. Cathemerality may also represent a behavioral thermoregulatory mechanism allowing the mongoose lemur to conserve energy by being active during the cool nights of the dry season. In addition, nocturnal behavior in the dry season probably allows avoidance of predation by raptors at the time of year when least protection is afforded by vegetation. Am. J. Primatol. 47:279–298, 1999. © 1999 Wiley-Liss, Inc.