Abstract # 6117 Poster # 194:

Scheduled for Friday, June 19, 2015 06:00 PM-08:00 PM: (Cascade AJBCD) Poster Presentation


RING-TAILED LEMUR (LEMUR CATTA) LATRINES ARE NOT A COMMUNICATION SIGNAL AT BERENTY RESERVE, MADAGASCAR

A. S. Mertl-Millhollen1, E. L. Millhollen1, S. M. Raharison2 and H. Rasamimanana2
1University of Oregon, Department of Anthropology, Eugene, Oregon 97403, USA, 2École Normale Supérieur, University of Antananarivo, Madagascar
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     Irwin et al. (2004) suggested that Lemur catta might use latrines, concentrating their feces in conspicuous deposition sites. We observed a wild lemur troop of seven individuals to determine whether feces and/or latrines are a communication signal. If lemurs communicate with latrines, we predict that they will overlap their feces, choose conspicuous defecation sites, combine defecation with scent marking, and investigate/overmark feces. October 2006, we recorded all occurrences of defecation and scent marking, noting substrate used, in 5-min group scan samples for ten 10-hour days. To determine whether lemurs investigate feces, June 2010, we collected feces from a distant troop each morning, placed these samples 10 cm from a water dish, and observed the response of a tourist area troop. We recorded 284 defecations and 1456 scent marks. All scent marks were deposited on objects; all feces landed on the ground. As many as seven defecations occurred within one scan, typically before 7:30am as the lemurs left the sleeping tree, but with no obvious accumulation. During 27 agonistic intergroup encounters, they deposited 72 scent marks but defecated only three times. Over the five days of the experiment, females went to the water dish seven times, other individuals walked nearby, but none investigated the feces. Lemur feces do not appear to be a communication signal. Supported by Committee for Research and Exploration, National Geographic Society.