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Duke University

Publication Date

Fall 2008

Program Name

Madagascar: Ecology and Conservation


The present study was conducted during the early wet season at Berenty Private Reserve. It investigates behavioral disparities between two troops of Lemur catta that occupy different habitats—gallery forest and scrub. Methods included density and phenology analysis to evaluate relative food availability in each territory. Behavioral observations were collected across eleven full-day troop follows. Results show extensive, statistically significant differences between behavior in the gallery and the scrub, many of which can be explained by relative food abundance within a troop’s home range. Some trends included greater intra-troop discord and fewer inter-troop conflicts in the scrub. In addition, the troops demonstrated significant disparities in time spent feeding per food patch; this result reflected optimal foraging strategies within habitats of different food densities. Finally, the inter-troop differences in daily activity budget and schedule were extensive. One general trend was reduced activity levels, including less time spent feeding, in the scrub. Overall, the present study seems to suggest that food abundance within a territory has considerable and multidimensional effects on Lemur catta behavior.


Animal Sciences


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