SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Abstract

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.