Original Research Article
Characterization of the Tree Holes Used by Lepilemur ruficaudatus in the Dry, Deciduous Forest of Kirindy Mitea National ParkRakotomalala E.J.a · Rakotondraparany F.a · Perofsky A.C.b · Lewis R.J.c
aDepartment of Animal Biology, University of Antananarivo, Antananarivo, Madagascar; Departments of bIntegrative Biology and cAnthropology, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA
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Article / Publication Details
Knowledge of the key resources for a species is critical for developing an effective conservation strategy. Kirindy Mitea National Park is an important refuge for the red-tailed sportive lemur (Lepilemur ruficaudatus), a nocturnal folivorous lemur endemic to the dry deciduous forest of western Madagascar. Because L. ruficaudatus sleeps in tree holes during the day, sleeping trees may be an important resource for this species. Our goal was to characterize the sleeping sites used by L. ruficaudatus at the Ankoatsifaka Research Station in Kirindy Mitea National Park. In July and August 2012, tree characteristics were recorded for 60 L. ruficaudatus sleeping sites. Intact and alive trees, particularly Strychnos madagascariensis, were preferred by L. ruficaudatus. Sleeping holes were generally located in taller trees (median hole height = 4 m) and in trees with large girths (median = 20.5 cm). Greater protection from predators and thermal shifts may be provided by intact trees and concealed tree holes. Because tree characteristics can influence the presence and abundance of forest-living primates, the availability and characteristics of particular trees as potential sleeping shelters in a habitat must be taken into account in conservation strategies for L. ruficaudatus.
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