Antipredator Vocalization Usage in the Male Ring-Tailed Lemur (Lemur catta)Bolt L.M.a · Sauther M.L.b · Cuozzo F.P.c · Youssouf Jacky I.A.d
aDepartment of Anthropology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ont., Canada; bDepartment of Anthropology, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colo., and cDepartment of Anthropology, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, N.Dak., USA; dDepartment of Animal Biology, University of Toliara, Toliara, Madagascar
Keywords: Male vocalizationAntipredator behaviorAlarm callVocalization rateMale dominancePredator abundancePredator confusion hypothesisGroup maintenance hypothesisPredation risk allocation hypothesis
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The ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) is a group-living strepsirrhine primate endemic to Madagascar that faces considerable predation pressure from aerial and terrestrial predators. This species engages in mobbing and vigilance behavior in response to predators, and has referential alarm vocalizations. Because L. catta is female dominant, less is known about the alarm calls of males. We tested 3 hypotheses for male antipredator vocalization behavior on L. catta at the Bezà Mahafaly Special Reserve in Madagascar: the predator confusion, group maintenance, and predation risk allocation hypotheses. We found support for 2 hypotheses. When a male L. catta made an antipredator call, other group members vocalized in response. Dominant males did not make alarm calls at higher rates than subordinate males. Predators were more abundant on the western side of Parcel 1, but an even greater number of antipredator vocalizations occurred in this area than predator abundance warranted. We show that male L. catta consistently participated in group-level antipredator vocalization usage in high-risk locations. Although female L. catta are known to hold the primary role in group defense, male L. catta are also key participants in group-wide behaviors that may confuse or drive away predators.
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