Michelle Sauther is assistant professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She received her Ph.D. from Washington University in 1992. Her research focuses on the socioecology of nonhuman primates, with special emphasis on how individual life-history factors contribute to variation in feeding and reproductive strategies. She has studied the ringtailed lemurs of Beza Mahafaly since 1987. Her most recent work on this population involves a joint effort to help develop a genetic profile to address issues of paternity and conservation for ringtailed lemurs. She has also done research in Guyana, Panama, Kenya, and Costa Rica. Sauther recently chaired a symposium on the feeding behavior of the Malagasy prosimians at the meetings of the American Society of Physical Anthropologists in 1996.
The socioecology of the ringtailed lemur: Thirty-five years of research
Article first published online: 19 OCT 1999
Copyright © 1999 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Evolutionary Anthropology: Issues, News, and Reviews
Volume 8, Issue 4, pages 120–132, 1999
How to Cite
Sauther, M. L., Sussman, R. W. and Gould, L. (1999), The socioecology of the ringtailed lemur: Thirty-five years of research. Evol. Anthropol., 8: 120–132. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1520-6505(1999)8:4<120::AID-EVAN3>3.0.CO;2-O
- Issue published online: 19 OCT 1999
- Article first published online: 19 OCT 1999
Linnaeus' original scientific description of Lemur catta, the ringtailed lemur, was based on a living animal brought to England in 1749. Although there were many brief descriptions of wild ringtailed lemurs, it was not until Jolly wrote her now classic book, Lemur Behavior, that we had our first detailed description of the natural history of these beautiful animals (Fig. 1). Since then, long-term field studies, mainly from two study sites in Madagascar, Berenty and Beza Mahafaly (Fig. 2), as well as studies on forest-living groups in captivity at the Duke University Primate Center in Durham, North Carolina, have greatly expanded our knowledge of the ecology and behavior of this species (Table 1, Box 1). Thirty-five years of research on this species at these various sites indicates that Lemur catta is proving to be every bit as complex in its behavior as are many anthropoid primates. This very complexity has been reflected in the current controversies and questions concerning the ecology and behavior of this species.