Abstract # 3150 Event # 232:

Scheduled for Monday, September 19, 2011 03:00 PM-03:15 PM: Session 32 (Meeting Room 410)


GPS COLLARS REVEAL NOCTURNAL RANGING IN A DIURNAL LEMUR, THE RING-TAILED LEMUR (LEMUR CATTA) ON ST. CATHERINES ISLAND

J. A. Parga
University of Toronto at Scarborough, Department of Social Sciences, Toronto, ON M1C 1A4, Canada
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     Cathemerality (an activity pattern comprised of both nocturnal and diurnal behavior) has only been described in a handful of primates, including several Malagasy lemurs and Aotus. Although substantial nocturnal behavior has not been previously described in the diurnal ring-tailed lemur, anecdotal evidence from colonies of this species in North America as well as from their natural habitat of Madagascar suggest that the ring-tailed lemur occasionally shows some nocturnal “wakefulness”. To investigate the possibility of nocturnal ranging in this species, 5 lemurs from 3 different social groups (3 males, 2 females) on St. Catherines Island, GA, USA were fitted with GPS (Global Positioning System) collars across 1 week of the breeding season in November 2009. Each GPS collar collected data every 30min across the deployment period. Results revealed significant nocturnal ranging. Mean travel distance (+/-SEM) was 320+/-88m (range 0-2132m) at night (defined as between 1900-0530 hours) and 536+/-93m (range 0-1877m) during the day. Moonlight had a positive effect on nocturnal travel, as the rate of night ranging was significantly higher during portions of the night when the moon was up as opposed to down (Wilcoxon, n=25, p<0.001). These data are not in accordance with the classification of the ring-tailed lemur as a strictly diurnal species, and they pose the question of whether this species should be classified as having a cathemeral activity pattern.