Journal Mobile Options
Table of Contents
Vol. 77, No. 1-2, 2006
Issue release date: January 2006

Cathemerality in the Mayotte Brown Lemur (Eulemur fulvus):Seasonality and Food Quality

Tarnaud L.
To view the fulltext, log in and/or choose pay-per-view option

Individual Users: Register with Karger Login Information

Please create your User ID & Password

Contact Information

I have read the Karger Terms and Conditions and agree.

To view the fulltext, please log in

To view the pdf, please log in


In past decades, cathemerality – as defined by Tattersall [1987] – has been documented in two primate families: Cebidae and Lemuridae. In the Lemuridae, in particular the genus Eulemur, cathemeral activity seems to be a regular behavioural trait. Nevertheless, ultimate and proximate determinants responsible for this behaviour remain unclear. In this study, in a dry and deciduous forest on Mayotte (Comoro Archipelago), activities of 4 female brown lemurs (Eulemur fulvus fulvus) were recorded by focal animal sampling during the daylight period and by scan sampling on their respective groups during the night. Horizontal distances travelled by females and groups were measured using GPS. During the daylight period, food intakes were estimated in grams by extrapolation of counting of mouthfuls after weighing a large sample of plant parts eaten. Crude protein, crude lipid, soluble sugar and crude fibre were analyzed for each seasonal reconstituted diet. Records of temperature and rainfall were supplied by a local meteorological station. Observations confirmed cathemerality in the Mayotte brown lemur as reported by Tattersall in 1977. During the dry season, the animals increased their nocturnal activity – substantially increasing the time devoted to feeding and moving overall, but especially at night – and were less active during the daylight period. The quality of their diet in the dry season was poorer than that in the wet season, with soluble sugar content and protein content decreasing and fibre content increasing slightly. As a result, Mayotte brown lemurs may need to extend their foraging activity over the 24-hour cycle to balance nutritional requirements.

Copyright / Drug Dosage

Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher or, in the case of photocopying, direct payment of a specified fee to the Copyright Clearance Center.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in goverment regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.


  1. Altmann J (1974). Observational study of behavior: sampling methods. Behavior 49: 227–267.
  2. Chivers DJ, Hladik CM (1980). Morphology of the gastrointestinal tract in primates: comparisons with other mammals in relation to diet. Journal of Morphology 166: 337–387.
  3. Colquhoun IC (1993). The socioecology of Eulemur macaco: a preliminary report. In Lemur Social Systems and Their Ecological Basis (Kappeler PM, Ganzhorn JU, eds.), pp 11–23. New York, Plenum Press.
  4. Colquhoun IC (1998). Cathemeral behaviour of Eulemur macaco macaco at Ambato Massif, Madagascar. Folia Primatologica 70: 79–96.
  5. Curtis DJ (2004). Diet and nutrition in wild mongoose lemurs (Eulemur mongoz) and their implications for the evolution of female dominance and small group size in lemurs. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 124: 234–247.
  6. Curtis DJ, Rasmussen MA (2002). Cathemerality in lemurs. Evolutionary Anthropology Suppl. 1: 83–86.

    External Resources

  7. Curtis DJ, Zaramody A, Martin RD (1999). Cathemerality in the mongoose lemurs, Eulemur mongoz. American Journal of Primatology 47: 279–298.
  8. Daniels GA (1984). Oxygen consumption in Lemur fulvus: deviation from the ideal model. Journal of Mammalogy 65: 584–592.

    External Resources

  9. Donati G, Lunardini A, Kappeler PM (1999). Cathemeral activity of red-fronted brown lemurs (Eulemur fulvus rufus) in the Kirindy forest. In New Directions in Lemur Studies (Rakotosamimanana B, Rasamimanana H, Ganzhorn JU, Goodman SM, eds.), pp 119–135. New York, Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.
  10. Donati G, Lunardini A, Kappeler PM, Borgognini-Tarli SM (2001). Nocturnal activity in the cathemeral red-fronted lemur (Eulemur fulvus rufus), with observations during a lunar eclipse. American Journal of Primatology 53: 69–78.
  11. Engqvist A, Richard A (1991). Diet as a possible determinant of cathemeral activity patterns in primates. Folia Primatologica 57: 169–172.
  12. Gittleman JL (1988). Behavioural energetics of lactation in a herbivorous carnivore, the red panda (Ailurus fulgens). Ethology 79: 13–24.
  13. Goodman SM (1994). The enigma of anti-predator behavior in lemurs: evidence of a large extinct eagle on Madagascar. International Journal of Primatology 15: 421–428.
  14. Hladik CM (1977). A comparative study of the feeding strategies of two sympatric species of leaf monkeys: Presbytis senex and Presbytis entellus. In Studies of Feeding and Ranging Behaviour in Lemurs, Monkeys and Apes (Clutton-Brock TH, ed.), pp 324–353. London, Academic Press.
  15. Kappeler PM, Erkert HG (2003). On the move around the clock: correlates and determinants of cathemeral activity in wild redfronted lemurs (Eulemur fulvus rufus). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 54: 359–369.
  16. Louette JP (1999). La faune de Mayotte. Direction de l’Agriculture et de la Forêt, Mayotte.
  17. Martin RD (1972). Adaptative radiation and behaviour of the Malagasy lemurs. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society London 264: 295–331.
  18. Müller EF (1983). Thermoregulation and energy budget of prosimians. Bonner Zoologische Beiträge 34: 29–71.
  19. Mutschler T (1999). Folivory in a small-bodied lemur. The nutrition of the Alaotran gentle lemur (Hapalemur griseus alaotrensis). In New Directions in Lemur Studies (Rakotosamimanana B, Rasamimanana H, Ganzhorn JU, Goodman SM, eds.), pp 221–239. New York, Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.
  20. Oftedal OT (1991). The nutritional consequences of foraging primates: the relationship of nutrient intakes to nutrient requirements. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, B 334: 161–170.
  21. Ostner J (2002). Social thermoregulation in red-fronted lemurs (Eulemur fulvus rufus). Folia Primatologica 73: 175–180.
  22. Overdorff DJ (1988). Preliminary report on the activity cycle and diet of the red-bellied lemur (Lemur rubriventer) in Madagascar. American Journal of Primatology 16: 143–153.
  23. Overdorff DJ (1992). Differential patterns in flower feeding by Eulemur fulvus rufus and Eulemur rubriventer in Madagascar. American Journal of Primatology 28: 191–203.
  24. Overdorff DJ (1993). Similarities, differences and seasonal patterns in the diet of Eulemur rubriventer and Eulemur fulvus rufus in the Ranomafana National Park Madagascar. International Journal of Primatology 14: 721–753.
  25. Overdorff DJ, Rasmussen MA (1995). Determinants of nightime activity in ‘diurnal’ lemurid primates. In Creatures of the Dark (Alterman L, Doyle GA, Izard K, eds.), pp 61–74. New York, Plenum Press.
  26. Pascal O (1997). Plantes et Forêts de Mayotte. Patrimoines Naturels, pp 108. Paris, National Museum of Natural History.
  27. Pereira ME, Strohecker RA, Cavigelli SA, Hughes CL, Pearson DD (1999). Metabolic strategy and social behaviour in lemuridae. In New Directions in Lemur Studies (Rakotosamimanana B, Rasamimanana H, Ganzhorn JU, Goodman SM, eds.), pp 119–135. New York, Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.
  28. Petter JJ (1962). Recherches sur l’écologie et l’éthologie des lémuriens malgaches. Mémoires du Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, série A 27: 1–146.
  29. Simmen B, Tarnaud L, Bayart F, Hladik A, Thiberge AL, Jaspart S, Jeanson M, Marez A (in press). Richesse en métabolites secondaires des forêts de Mayotte et de Madagascar et folivorie chez deux espèces de lémuriens (Eulemur spp.). Revue Ecologie (Terre et Vie).
  30. Sussman RW (1975). A preliminary study of the behavior and ecology of Lemur fulvus rufus. In Lemur Biology (Tattersall I, Sussman RW, eds.), pp 237–258. New York, Plenum Press.
  31. Sussman RW, Tattersall I (1976). Cycles of activity, group composition, and diet of Lemur mongoz mongoz Linnaeus 1766 in Madagascar. Folia Primatologica 26: 270–283.
  32. Tarnaud L (2004a). Ontogeny of feeding behavior of Eulemur fulvus in the dry forest of Mayotte. International Journal of Primatology 25: 803–823.

    External Resources

  33. Tarnaud L (2004b). L’ontogenèse du comportement alimentaire du primate Eulemur fulvus en forêt sèche (Mayotte, Archipel des Comores) en relation avec le lien mère-jeune et la disponibilité des ressources alimentaires. PhD dissertation, Paris, University of Paris.
  34. Tattersall I (1977). Ecology of behavior of Lemur fulvus mayottensis, Primate Lemuriformes. Anthropological Papers of the American Museum Natural History 54: 425–482.
  35. Tattersall I (1987). Cathemeral activity in primates: a definition. Folia Primatologica 49: 200–202.
  36. Tilden CD, Oftedal OT (1997). Milk composition reflects pattern of maternal care in prosimian primates. American Journal of Primatology 41: 195–211.
  37. van Schaik CP, Kappeler PM (1996). The social systems of gregarious lemurs: lack of convergence with anthropoids due to evolutionary disequilibrium? Ethology 102: 915–941.
  38. Vasey N (2000). Niche separation in Varecia variegata rubra and Eulemur fulvus albifrons. I. Interspecific patterns. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 112: 411–431
  39. Vasey N (2002). Niche separation in Varecia variegata rubra and Eulemur fulvus albifrons. II. Intraspecific patterns. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 118: 169–183
  40. Wilson JM, Steward PD, Ramangason GS, Denning AM, Hutchings MS (1989). Ecology and conservation of the crowned lemur Lemur coronatus at Ankarana, North Madagascar. Folia Primatologica 52: 1–26.
  41. Wright PC (1999). Lemur traits and Madagascar ecology: coping with an island environment. Yearbook of Physiological Anthropology 42: 31–72.

    External Resources

Pay-per-View Options
Direct payment This item at the regular price: USD 38.00
Payment from account With a Karger Pay-per-View account (down payment USD 150) you profit from a special rate for this and other single items.
This item at the discounted price: USD 26.50