Advertisement

International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 437–464 | Cite as

Male and Female Activity Patterns in Microcebus murinus During the Dry Season at Kirindy Forest, Western Madagascar

  • Emilienne Rasoazanabary
Article

I investigated sexual differences in activity levels, and their adaptive significance in gray mouse lemurs, Microcebus murinus, during the dry season. I studied them between April and September, 1999, at Kirindy Forest, a dry deciduous forest in western Madagascar. Six males and 6 females were radiocollared and followed using focal individual sampling. The males remained active throughout the dry season, whereas the females hibernated for up to 3 mo. Males exhibited a gradual decrease in activity from May to June and some of them remained inactive for periods of a few days to 1 wk. Males were more active in July. Though there were changes in the duration of time spent sleeping, there was no significant change in male body mass throughout the period. Males appear to prefer to rest in nests that are close to or coincident with those preferred by females, and multiple males may simultaneously share nests with multiple hibernating females. Males occupying nests that are close to or coincident with nests preferred by females tend to switch nests less frequently than others do. Researchers have suggested that high levels of activity prepare males for the mating season, which occurs at the end of the dry season. Presumably, by maintaining an active lifestyle throughout the dry season, certain males may position themselves to monopolize the best tree holes during the mating season. The reproductive advantages gained by this behavior may overshadow the costs of remaining active during the dry season when resources are scarce, temperatures are low, and predator pressure is high. Measurements on captured males confirm a weak (nonsignificant) positive correlation between body mass and activity levels. There is no indication that the heavier, more active males were better able to monopolize the best tree holes.

Key words:

activity levels dry season kirindy forest Microcebus murinus nests seasonal torpor sex differences 

Notes

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I conducted the study under an accord between the Laboratoire de Primatologie et Biologie Evolutive d’Université d’Antananarivo and the Deutsches Primatenzentrum (DPZ). The DPZ provided funding for the field research. I am grateful to the staff of the Centre de Formation Professionnelle Forestière Morondava for maintaining the Kirindy research station, at which I conducted the study. I am grateful to Dr. Peter Kappeler, and, particularly, Manfred Eberle, for assistance in the field, as well as the late Dr. Berthe Rakotosamimanana, Director of the Laboratoire de Primatologie et de Biologie Evolutive in 1999, for facilitating this research. I thank Drs. Gisèle Randria, Rodin Rasoloarison, and Lalao Spiral (Université d’Antananarivo), as well as Laurie Godfrey and Michael Sutherland (University of Massachusetts, Amherst) for their advice and help with the execution of this article. I wrote this article at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, under the support of a Wenner-Gren Professional Development Fellowship.

REFERENCES

  1. Altmann, J. (1974). Observational study of behavior: Sampling methods. Behavior 49: 227–265.Google Scholar
  2. Atsalis, S. (1999). Seasonal fluctuations in body fat and activity levels in a rain-forest species of mouse lemur, Microcebus rufus. Int. J. Primatol. 20: 883–910.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Atsalis, S. (2000). Spatial distribution and population composition of the brown mouse lemur (Microcebus rufus) in Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar, and its implications for social organization. Am. J. Primatol. 51: 61–78.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Eberle, M., and kappeler, P.M. (2002). Mouse lemurs in space and time: a test of the socioecological model. Behav . Ecol. Sociobiol. 15: 131–139. Google Scholar
  5. Fietz, J. (1998). Body mass in wild Microcebus murinus over the dry season. Folia Primatol. 69(Suppl. 1): 183–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Ganzhorn, J. U., Klaus, S., Ortmann, S., and Schmid, J. (2002). Adaptations to seasonality: Some primate and nonprimate examples. In Kappeler, P. M., and Pereira, M. E. (eds.), Primate Life Histories and Socioecology, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp. 132–144.Google Scholar
  7. Ganzhorn, J. U., and Schmid, J. (1998). Different population dynamics of Microcebus murinus in primary and secondary deciduous dry forests of Madagascar. Int. J. Primatol. 19: 785–796.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Ganzhorn, J. U., and Sorg, J.-P., eds. (1996). Ecology and Economy of a Tropical Dry Forest in Madagascar. Primate Report (Special Issue) 46-1.Google Scholar
  9. Goodman, S. M., O’Connor, S., and Langrand, O. (1993). A review of predation on lemurs: Implications of the evolution of social behavior in small, nocturnal primates. In Kappeler, P. M., and Ganzhorn, J. U. (eds.), Lemur Social Systems and Their Ecological Basis, Plenum Press, New York, pp. 51–66.Google Scholar
  10. Kappeler, P. M. (1996). Intrasexual selection and phylogenetic constraints in the evolution of sexual canine dimorphism in strepsirhine primates. J. Evol. Biol. 9: 43– 65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Kappeler, P. M. (1997). Determinants of primate social organization: Comparative evidence and new insights from Malagasy lemurs. Biol. Rev. 72: 111–151.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Martin, R. D. (1972). A preliminary field study of the lesser mouse lemur Microcebus murinus (J. F. Miller 1777). Z. Tierpsychol. 9: 43–89.Google Scholar
  13. Martin, R. D. (1973). A review of the behaviour and ecology of the lesser mouse lemurs (Microcebus murinus J. F. Miller 1777). In Michael, R. P., and Crook, J. H. (eds.), Comparative Ecology and Behaviour of Primates, Academic Press, London, pp. 1–68.Google Scholar
  14. Pages, E. (1980). Ethoecology of Microcebus coquereli during the dry season. In Charles-Dominique, P., Cooper, H. M., Hladik, A., Hladik, C. M., Pages, E., Pariente, G. F., Petter-Rousseaux, A., and Schilling, A. (eds.), Nocturnal Malagasy Primates: Ecology, Physiology, and Behavior, Academic Press, New York, pp. 97–116.Google Scholar
  15. Pagès-Feuillade, E. (1988). Modalités de l’occupation de l’espace et relations interindividuelles chez un prosimien nocturne malgache (Microcebus murinus). Folia Primatol. 50: 204– 220.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Perret, M. (1996). Manipulation of sex ratio at birth by urinary cues in a prosimian primate. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 38: 259–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Petter-Rousseaux, A. (1988). Seasonal activity rhythms, reproduction, and body weight variations in five sympatric nocturnal prosimians in simulated light and climatic conditions. In Charles-Dominique, P., Cooper, H. M., Hladik, A., Hladik, C. M., Pages, E., Pariente, G. F., Petter-Rousseaux, A., Petter, J.-J., and Schilling, A. (eds.), Nocturnal Malagasy Primates: Ecology, Physiology, and Behavior, Academic Press, New York, pp. 137– 152.Google Scholar
  18. Pochron, S. T., and Wright, P. C. (2002). Dynamics of testes size compensates for variation in male body size. Evol. Ecol. Res. 4: 577–585.Google Scholar
  19. Randrianasolo, J., Rakotovao, P., Deleporte, P., Rarivoson, C., Sorg, J.-P., and Rohner, U. (1996). Local tree species in the tree nursery. In Ganzhorn, J. U., and Sorg, J.-P. (eds.), Ecology and Economy of a Tropical Dry Forest in Madagascar, Primate Report 46-1 (Special issue), Eric Goltze, Göttingen, pp. 117–132.Google Scholar
  20. Schmid, J. (1997). Torpor Beim Grauen Mausmaki (Microcebus murinus) in Madagaskar, Energetische Konsequenzen und Okologische Bedeutung. PhD Dissertation, University of Tubingen.Google Scholar
  21. Schmid, J., and Kappeler, P. M. (1998). Fluctuating sexual dimorphism and differential hibernation by sex in a primate, the gray mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus). Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 43: 125–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Schmid, J., and Speakman, J. R. (2000). Daily energy expenditure of the grey mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus): A small primate that uses torpor. J. Comp. Physiol. B 170: 633–641.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Stanger, K. F., Coffman, B. S., and Izard, M. K. (1995). Reproduction in Coquerel's dwarf lemur (Mirza coquereli). Am. J. Primatol. 36: 223–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Zimmermann, E. (1998). Waldgeister der Tropen--die nachtaktiven Lemuren Madagaskars. Biol. Unserer Zeit 5: 294–303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Massachusetts at Amherst AmherstMassachusettsUSA

Personalised recommendations