Ecological Risk Aversion and Juvenile Ring-Tailed Lemur Feeding and ForagingO'Mara M.T.
Zukunftskolleg and Department of Biology, University of Konstanz, Konstanz, and Department of Migration and Immuno-Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Radolfzell, Germany; Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panamá, Panama
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The extended primate juvenile period has been linked to interactions between feeding ecology and sociality. However, accumulating field data on juvenile primates suggest variation in the linkages between foraging efficiency, group foraging and social behaviour. In many non-human primates, juvenile ability (strength, coordination and motor skills) does not limit foraging success. If predicted limitations in feeding are not found in juvenile monkeys, it is possible that the gregarious strepsirrhines may show foraging patterns similar to those implicated in the evolution of a life history where long juvenile periods are advantageous. To test these behavioural predictions, I present a mixed longitudinal sample of observations on feeding and foraging behaviour from ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) at the Bezà Mahafaly Special Reserve, Madagascar. Like several platyrrhine species, close proximity during foraging, low feeding efficiency and low dietary diversity are not typical of ring-tailed lemurs. The lack of ecological trade-offs in these species may indicate stronger common roles of sociality and social complexity in structuring the elongation of the primate juvenile period.
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