The National Science Foundation; Contract grant number: BCS-0424234; Contract grant sponsor: CI Primate Action Fund; Contract grant sponsor: American Society of Primatologists; Contract grant sponsor: Primate Conservation, Inc.; Contract grant sponsor: University of Texas-Austin.
Leading Ladies: Leadership of Group Movements in a Pair-Living, Co-Dominant, Monomorphic Primate Across Reproductive Stages and Fruit Availability Seasons
Article first published online: 29 MAY 2012
© 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
American Journal of Primatology
Volume 74, Issue 7, pages 591–601, July 2012
How to Cite
TECOT, S. R. and ROMINE, N. K. (2012), Leading Ladies: Leadership of Group Movements in a Pair-Living, Co-Dominant, Monomorphic Primate Across Reproductive Stages and Fruit Availability Seasons. Am. J. Primatol., 74: 591–601. doi: 10.1002/ajp.22011
- Issue published online: 29 MAY 2012
- Article first published online: 29 MAY 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 25 DEC 2011
- Manuscript Revised: 23 DEC 2011
- Manuscript Received: 7 JUL 2011
- The National Science Foundation. Grant Number: BCS-0424234
- CI Primate Action Fund
- American Society of Primatologists
- Primate Conservation, Inc.
- University of Texas-Austin.
- female dominance;
- group leadership
For gregarious species, individuals must maintain cohesion while minimizing the costs of coordinated travel. Leaders of group movements potentially influence energy expenditure, energy intake, and predation risk for individuals in the group, which can have important fitness consequences. Models of pair-living species predict that energetic asymmetries lead to an emergent leader, with those in greater need leading. We investigated sex differences in leadership in pairs of red-bellied lemurs, Eulemur rubriventer, a monomorphic species with bisexual dispersal and no discernible hierarchy, to determine whether higher energetic requirements by adult females lead to female leadership. We collected leadership data in Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar on six groups of habituated E. rubriventer for 13 consecutive months between 2004–2005. To determine whether females led group movements more than males, we examined the difference in leadership frequencies of progressions in adult males and adult females within each group (n = 1,346 progressions). We further investigated the behavioral context (i.e. travel followed by feeding or not) and seasonal contexts (fruit availability, reproduction) of leadership. Group leadership was distributed, with different individuals leading the group at different times. However, females led significantly more than males, a pattern which was consistent in both feeding and non-feeding contexts and throughout all fruiting seasons and reproductive stages. While disparities in energetic status among the sexes may impact leadership in this species, leadership did not differ with changes in food availability or reproductive stage, and thus we were unable to determine whether female leadership might be related to changes in energetic status. Females may have higher energetic needs than males at all times, not merely seasonally, or female leadership may be unrelated to immediate energetic need. Rather, female leadership may be a legacy of female dominance not currently expressed in other contexts. Am. J. Primatol. 74:591–601, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.