Attacks on a wild infant ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) by immigrant males at Berenty, Madagascar: interpreting infanticide by males



An orphaned infant ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) was attacked persistently by immigrant males and disappeared with severe wounds at Berenty Reserve, Madagascar. Prior to the attacks, two troop members disappeared. On 20 November 1998, the only resident male in Troop C2B disappeared suddenly. After the disappearance, nine males from three neighboring troops approached, but only six males continued to shadow the troop. Of the females, the one lactating female attacked the males the most frequently. On 21 January 1999, the lactating female disappeared and her infant was orphaned. Subsequently, five attacks on the infant by immigrant males were observed for five consecutive days from January 23 to 27. The aggression was persistent and specifically targeted the infant, suggesting that the attacks were purposeful aggression, rather than redirected or accidental aggression. The primary attacker was the most dominant of the immigrant males, and mated with females in the next mating season. Am. J. Primatol. 67:267–272, 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.