• troop fission;
  • targeted aggression;
  • ring-tailed lemur;
  • kinship;
  • dominance relationships


A detailed fission process in a wild ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) troop was observed at Berenty Reserve, Madagascar. The troop fission occurred as follows: 1) During the birth season in 2000, two adult females (mother and daughter) were evicted as a result of “targeted aggression” (i.e., intense and persistent aggressive behavior toward particular individuals). 2) Two adult and three immature females in the same kin group as the evicted females spontaneously immigrated into the new group. 3) A male immigrated into the new group 1.5 months later. 4) The new troop successfully established its own home range. This report exemplifies three characteristics of troop fission in ring-tailed lemurs. First, targeted aggression initiated the fission process. Second, the troop females divided along matrilineal lines. Finally, no male played a specific role in the fission process. Am. J. Primatol. 68:97–102, © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.