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Morphometrics and pattern of growth in wild sifakas (Propithecus edwardsi) at ranomafana national park, madagascar

Authors

  • Stephen J. King,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Anthropology, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York
    2. Department of Anthropology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts
    • Anthropology Department, Machmer Hall, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003
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  • Toni Lyn Morelli,

    1. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Albany, California
    2. Centre ValBio, Ranomafana, Madagascar
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  • Summer Arrigo-Nelson,

    1. Centre ValBio, Ranomafana, Madagascar
    2. Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, California University of Pennsylvania, California, Pennsylvania
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  • Félix J. Ratelolahy,

    1. Centre ValBio, Ranomafana, Madagascar
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  • Laurie R. Godfrey,

    1. Department of Anthropology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts
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  • Jeffrey Wyatt,

    1. Centre ValBio, Ranomafana, Madagascar
    2. University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York
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  • Stacey Tecot,

    1. Centre ValBio, Ranomafana, Madagascar
    2. School of Anthropology, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
    3. Department of Ecology and Evolution, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York
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  • Jukka Jernvall,

    1. Department of Ecology and Evolution, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York
    2. Institute of Biotechnology, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
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  • Patricia C. Wright

    1. Department of Anthropology, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York
    2. Centre ValBio, Ranomafana, Madagascar
    3. Department of Ecology and Evolution, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York
    4. Institute of Biotechnology, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
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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.

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