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Keywords:

  • Ranomafana National Park;
  • Propithecus;
  • morphometrics;
  • longitudinal;
  • sexual dimorphism

Abstract

We summarize morphometric data collected over a period of 22 years from a natural population of rainforest sifakas (Propithecus edwardsi) at Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar, and we use those data to document patterns of growth and development. Individually identified, known-age sifakas were successfully captured, measured, and released. We found that body segment lengths increased faster during growth than did body mass, with individuals attaining adult lengths earlier than adult mass. Females can begin reproducing before they are fully grown, but this may not be common. With the exception of hand length, we found no significant sex difference in any adult metric including body mass, chest, and limb circumferences, body segment lengths, and canine tooth height; however, body masses of individual females fluctuated more, independently of pregnancy, than did those of males. We found considerable interannual fluctuation in body mass with single individuals differing more within the same season in different years than from season to season in the same year. Such body mass fluctuation may be a consequence of eastern Madagascar's variable and unpredictable environment in which rainfall during any selected month varies from year to year. Am. J. Primatol. 73:155–172, 2011. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.