Primate responses to habitat alteration vary depending on the species’ dietary guild and forest type. Leaves from secondary vegetation can provide nutritious resources to folivorous primates, whereas frugivores, burdened with a scattered spatial and temporal distribution of fruiting resources, require larger home ranges, potentially limiting their ability to cope with altered landscapes. Within coastal south-eastern Madagascar, we sought to determine whether two lemur species occupying contrasting ecological niches (i.e., dietary guilds) respond differently to the changing features of their degraded and fragmented habitat. We conducted behavioural observations between 2011 and 2013 on frugivorous collared brown lemurs (Eulemur collaris) and folivorous southern bamboo lemurs (Hapalemur meridionalis). In order to estimate the ability of lemurs to use pioneer species, we categorised all plants used for feeding and resting as either ‘fast-growing’, ‘mid-growing’, or ‘slow-growing’. We fitted linear mixed-effects models, one for each plant growth category with monthly proportional use rates as the dependent variable, and included species (E. collaris and H. meridionalis), activity (feeding and resting), and season (dry and wet) as fixed effects. Our results show that E. collaris used both slow- and mid-growing plant species most often, while H. meridionalis were more likely to use fast-growing plants, which indicated an ability to utilise secondary/disturbed vegetation. Frugivorous E. collaris appear more limited by climax plants, while folivorous H. meridionalis appear to be slightly more adaptable, a finding that is consistent with other primate folivores.
Eppley, Timothy M.
Campera, MarcoRabenantoandro, JohnyRamanamanjato, Jean-BaptisteRandriatafika, FalyGanzhorn, Jörg U.Donati, Giuseppe
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences\Department of Social Sciences
Year of publication: 2016Date of RADAR deposit: 2017-03-03