Anti-Predator Strategies in a Diurnal Prosimian, the Ring-Tailed Lemur (Lemur catta), at the Beza Mahafaly Special Reserve, Madagascar

  • Lisa Gould
  • Michelle L. Sauther
Part of the Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects book series (DIPR)


With the dramatic increase in research on Madagascar’s lemurs during the past few decades, it is now feasible to both document anti-predator behavior and to test predictions regarding the effect of predation pressure on the behavioral ecology of lemurs. In 1994 Goodman raised much interest by his suggestion that, in the absence of large, extant predators on Madagascar, anti-predator behaviors and strategies in lemurs were an artifact of a behavioral repertoire that existed before the extinction of a very large eagle, Stephanoaetus mahery. However, both before and subsequent to Goodman’s argument, numerous studies of both diurnal and nocturnal lemurs revealed that both extant avian and mammalian predators pose a real predation threat. (Sauther, 1989, 2002; Overdorff & Strait, 1995; Wright & Martin, 1995; Gould, 1996; Gould et al., 1997; Wright, 1998; Schwab, 1999; Karpanty & Grella, 2001; Karpanty 2003). In this chapter, we first present information on predation risk, group size, and foraging in the ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta), and then we examine sex differences in predator vigilance, canopy level differences in vigilance, and how alpha females contribute to anti-predator strategies in this species.


Antipredator Behavior Vigilance Behavior Alpha Female Nocturnal Lemur Eulemur Rubriventer 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisa Gould
    • 1
  • Michelle L. Sauther
    • 2
  1. 1.Dept. of AnthropologyUniversity of VictoriaVictoriaCanada
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Colorado at BoulderUSA

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