Patterns of movement and seed dispersal by three lemur species



We combined data on gut-passage times, feeding, and movement to explore the patterns of seed dispersal by Eulemur rubriventer, Eulemur rufrifrons, and Varecia variegata editorum lemurs in Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar. These lemur species deposited less than half of their consumed seeds >100 m away from conspecific trees (40–50%). Long-distance dispersal (>500 m) was rare and average dispersal distances were short relative to those reported of similar-sized haplorrhine primates. The three lemur species showed no significant differences in mean seed-dispersal distances. However, they differed in the shape of their frequency distributions of seed-dispersal distances as a result of differences in how they moved through their habitats. The short distances of seed dispersal we observed and the depauperate frugivorous fauna in Madagascar suggest seed-dispersal may be more limited than in other tropical forests with important implications for plant-community dynamics, biodiversity maintenance, and restoration efforts in Madagascar. Am. J. Primatol. 76:84–96, 2014. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.