Demography, range use, and behavior in black lemurs (Eulemur macaco macaco) at Ampasikely, northwest Madagascar


  • Françoise Bayart,

    Corresponding author
    1. Département Écologie et Gestion de la Biodiversité, CNRS-UMR5176, Musée National d'Histoire Naturelle, Brunoy, France
    • CNRS-UMR 5176, Laboratoire d'Écologie Générale, Musée National d'Histoire Naturelle, 4 Avenue du Petit Château, 91800 Brunoy, France
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  • Bruno Simmen

    1. Département Hommes, Natures et Sociétés, CNRS-UMR5145, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Brunoy, France
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We studied a black lemur population over a 2-year period (1992–1993) and 8 years later (2000) in a 50-ha secondary forest in northwest Madagascar. All of the animals were marked to investigate population dynamics and seasonal variation in ranging and behavior, and new data on black lemurs were obtained. Our data on demographic characteristics were expanded to include other forest sites and contrasted with those collected in other Eulemur macaco macaco field studies, in relation to human activity and the presence of introduced and cultivated plant species. Density is affected by deforestation and hunting. Group size and home range depend on the composition of the forest and probably food patches. Sex ratio at birth varies according to the number of females per group, a result that fits the local resource competition model. Groups are multimale-multifemale, and adult females form the core of the groups. Reproductive parameters indicate sharply defined seasonal breeding, a high female reproductive rate, and birth synchrony. Changes in group composition reveal male and female juvenile dispersal, male transfer between groups at the time of mating, and adult female transfer and group fission when groups exceed a critical size. At mating and birth, intergroup agonistic encounters occurred at home-range boundaries, and larger groups were dominant over smaller groups. Patterns of intragroup interactions suggest that males compete for access to groups of females during the mating season, and that females may compete for food resources during the birth season. Our study also reports female social dominance and lack of sexual weight dimorphism in this species. Am. J. Primatol. 67:299–312, 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.