Abstract # 3169 Poster # 172:

Scheduled for Sunday, September 18, 2011 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 23 (Salon G (Sixth Floor)) Poster Presentation


GROUP LEADERSHIP BY FEMALES IN A PAIR-BONDED STREPSIRHINE, EULEMUR RUBRIVENTER (RED-BELLIED LEMUR), IN SOUTHEASTERN MADAGASCAR

S. Tecot and N. K. Romine
University of Arizona, School of Anthropology, 1009 E. South Campus Drive, Tucson, Arizona 85721, USA
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Some Malagasy strepsirhines are exceptional compared with other primates in that females coordinate group movements in the absence of female bonding and overt female dominance. We investigated leadership of group movements in cohesive, pair-living Eulemur rubriventer, with no discernible hierarchy and minimal rates of aggression. Leadership and context of each movement were recorded using all occurrences recording of travel and continuous recording of behavior from focal animals. Data were collected on five groups for 12 months between 2004-2005, and totaled 1346 progressions. Both sexes led group movements. Females were leaders significantly more than males (X2=446, df=1, P<0.001). Females led significantly more regardless of whether the group fed within 1 or 5 minutes of the travel bout or not (P<0.001). The only exception to this pattern occurred in one group that formed during the course of the study; leadership by the male and female did not differ significantly, though the male led movements more often (X2=3.64, df=1, P=0.057). We propose that, based on previous research on other lemur taxa and this study, female lemurs lead group movements more than males regardless of social organization and context. This pattern may change in recently formed pair-bonded groups, however. A male who maintains a territory and is joined by a wandering female is more familiar with the distribution of other groups and resources within the home range.