Abstract # 111:

Scheduled for Saturday, June 19, 2010 08:45 AM-08:55 AM: Session 19 (Mezzanine Ballroom A/B/C/D) Oral Presentation


THE BEHAVIOURAL RESPONSE TO FOREST EDGE BY GRAY-HEADED BROWN LEMURS (EULEMUR CINEREICEPS) IN AGNALAZAHA, SOUTHEAST MADAGASCAR

C. Ingraldi, A. Rued and S. Johnson
University of Calgary, Department of Anthropology, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4, Canada
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Past studies of edge effects have focused on the demographic responses of species by measuring abundance and distribution in relation to forest edge. However, little research has been conducted on how species respond behaviorally to forest edge. Since primate distribution is generally understood to concur with food availability, it is often assumed that any edge response is caused by differential resource distribution from forest edge to interior. This study aimed to further explore possible causes behind a positive edge response by the gray-headed brown lemur (Eulemur cinereiceps) at Agnalazaha by assessing changes in feeding and ranging behaviours at varying distances from the forest edge. Behavioural observations were made on 7 individuals between June and October 2007 using focal animal sampling techniques for a total of 332 hours. Activity budget, diet, habitat use, and food availability were quantified at varying distances from edge, and relationships were explored using Spearman’s rank order correlation. Eulemur cinereiceps strongly preferred the forest edge while resting [r(9)=0.600, P=0.023] and preferred taller trees while near the edge [r(9)=-0.543, P=0.045]. Feeding behaviours and food availability showed no correlation with distance to forest edge. These results suggest that E. cinereiceps dietary resources are not affected by forest edge, and that edge response may be attributed to other physiological needs such as thermoregulation. These data may be useful in making conservation recommendations for this species.