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Keywords:

  • agonistic behavior;
  • reconciliation;
  • brown lemur;
  • black lemur;
  • Eulemur fulvus;
  • Eulemur macaco

Abstract

Although the brown lemur (Eulemur fulvus) and the black lemur (Eulemur macaco) share many life parameters and are genetically closed, they show considerable difference in social organization. Dominance relationships with no systematic effect of gender characterize the former, whereas the latter is based on female dominance. The present study was done on two captive groups of brown lemurs and one semi–free-ranging group of black lemurs. To reveal links between the specific pattern of social organization and agonistic behaviors, agonistic interactions were analyzed for each species as for their context of occurrence, symmetry, initiation, and outcome. The effect of gender in the initiation of conflicts appeared as the only notable interspecific difference, aggression being mostly initiated by females in E. macaco and by males in E. fulvus. Conflict outcome was generally in favor of the initiator, regardless of gender in both species. The analysis of postconflict behaviors revealed conciliatory processes in the brown lemur, whereas reconciliation seemed to be absent in the black lemur, a characteristic shared with the ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta), another lemur species with female dominance. Aggr. Behav. 28:62–74, 2002. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.