Abstract # 5:

Scheduled for Wednesday, June 19, 2013 09:15 AM-09:30 AM: (San Geronimo Ballroom B) Symposium


BEHAVIORAL AND PHYSIOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF MONOGAMOUS PAIR-BONDS IN THE RED-BELLIED LEMUR, EULEMUR RUBRIVENTER$

S. Tecot1,2 and B. Singletary1
1School of Anthropology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA, 2Centre ValBio, Ranomafana, Madagascar
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     Lemurs are notable among primates for a suite of unique characteristics, including a relatively high incidence of pair-living. Thus, they are an excellent taxon for investigating evolutionary pathways selecting for pair-bonding. We describe our work with wild and captive red-bellied lemurs who live in family groups containing an adult pair and their sub-adult offspring. We have focused on determining the behavioral characteristics and strength of the pair (i.e., whether they can be called “pair-bonded”); the proximate mechanisms facilitating coordination of the pair; and the ultimate function of the pair-bond. Pairs are strictly monogamous and stable, persisting at least 6 years in the wild. Affiliation and agonism within and between pairs support a model wherein resource competition and defense drive pair-bonding. Multiple signal modalities (acoustic, tactile, chemical) are used to advertise and maintain the bond, as indicated by high rates of vocalization, extended periods of time in physical contact, and frequent scent-marking. Life history traits may select for pair-bonds as well. Frequent twinning, coordinated changes in fecal cortisol levels among the group during gestation, and facultative sibling and paternal care suggest that infant care needs also select for strong pair-bonds. Allo-maternal care among lemurs does not increase reproductive rates as it does in anthropoids, but the possibility remains open that it increases infant survival, thus potentially selecting for the persistence of obligate pair-bonding in this species.