The 81st Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2012)

Fallback food consumption and sympatry in Eulemur coronatus and Eulemur sanfordi


Anthropology, Sociology, and Social Work, Eastern Kentucky University

Friday 168, Plaza Level Add to calendar

The presence of fallback foods (FBFs) may contribute to sympatry among crowned lemurs (Eulemur coronatus) and Sanford’s lemurs (Eulemur sanfordi) in northern Madagascar. To examine these lemurs’ habitat use, I compared a yearlong study conducted in Mt. d’Ambre, a large protected primary forest, with broad survey observations collected over the last six years in 28 unprotected forest fragments. In Mt. d’Ambre, the lemurs’ consumed Lantana camara, a filler FBF, but I found no staple FBFs (Marshall & Wrangham, 2007). Lantana was available year round, and made up to 25% of both lemurs’ diets. In comparison to Mt. d’Ambre, the forest fragments were smaller, more secondary, and were usually dominated by one of two FBF species, either Lantana or tamarinds (Tamarindus indica). In Lantana fragments, lemurs were most often observed foraging near preferred fruit trees, including figs, and likely spent a large percentage of time in mango trees and near humans. In tamarind fragments, lemurs were readily observed eating ripe tamarinds both day and night. Both lemurs were also easily observed foraging and feeding in non-tamarind areas. Overall, when the lemurs did not consume FBFs, they partitioned their habitat much as they did in the primary forest. Although fewer lemurs were found in forests that did not contain both FBFs and preferred foods, anthropogenic factors are affecting the presence of both lemurs in this region. The presence of FBFs may enable both lemur species to co-occur in more forests than previously thought.

Funding for this study was provided by NSF (BNS 8722340), a Collaborative Fulbright award, Boise Fund, Eastern Kentucky University, Emory University, Canadian Social Science & Humanities Research Council (Andrew Walsh & Ian Colquhoun), and National Geographic Society (Lisa Gezon, Glen Green 7413.03).

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