Are “visitor effects” overestimated? Behaviour in captive lemurs is mainly driven by co-variation with time and weather

The concept that visitors affect behaviour of captive animals has interested zookeepers since the 1960s. However, to date no studies on “visitor effects” have allowed for time of day and weather, which can affect behaviour directly and frequently co-vary with visitor numbers. Here, we examine visitor effects on captive ring-tailed lemurs Lemur catta in a […]

Effects of Three Food Enrichment Items on the Behavior of Black Lemurs (Eulemur macaco macaco) and Ringtail Lemurs (Lemur catta) at the Henson Robinson Zoo, Springfield, Illinois

This study tested 3 food enrichment items mentioned in a laboratory primate newsletter with 6 adult Eulemur macaco and 3 adult Lemur catta to examine whether the items would affect the behavior of the lemurs. The results suggest that Food Enrichment Item 3 (a wire box filled with whole grapes, apples, or both hidden in […]

Female age-specific reproductive rates, birth seasonality, and infant mortality of ring-tailed Lemurs on St. Catherines Island: 17-year reproductive history of a free-ranging colony

Abstract 10.1002/zoo.20062.abs To compare reproductive parameters of a managed population of free-ranging provisioned ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) to wild L. catta populations, we analyzed birth and mortality records collected over the 17-year history of the St. Catherines Island ring-tailed lemur colony. The majority of births in this colony (approximately 80%) occurred in March, which indicates […]

Adult play fighting and potential role of tail signals in ringtailed lemurs (Lemur catta)

Adult strepsirrhines have been completely neglected in the study of animal play. I focused on adult play fighting and the role of tail-play as a signal in ringtailed lemurs (Lemur catta). Tail-play is performed during play fighting, when lemurs anoint or, more rarely, wave their tails toward the playmate. During the prereproductive period, male and […]

A scoring system for coat and tail condition in ringtailed lemurs, Lemur catta

Coat condition can be influenced by a wide variety of disorders and thus provides a useful tool for noninvasive health and welfare assessments in wild and captive animals. Using Lemur catta as an exemplar, we offer a 6-step scoring system for coat and tail condition, ranging from perfectly fluffy to half or more of body […]

Evidence that displacement activities facilitate behavioural transitions in ring-tailed lemurs

Displacement activities are behavioural patterns defined by their apparent irrelevance to an animal’s ongoing actions. Despite being identified in diverse taxa, their function remains poorly understood. One hypothesis posits that displacement activities facilitate transitions between different behaviours by mediating changes in animals’ motivational state. Under this hypothesis, it is predicted that displace-ment activities will occur […]

Dispersal among male ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) on St. Catherines Island

Male dispersal patterns were analyzed across a nine-year period in a population of ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) on St. Catherines Island (SCI), USA, to evaluate two ultimate explanations for male dispersal: inbreeding avoidance and intrasexual mating competition. As part of this analysis, we also compared patterns of dispersal at this site with data from wild […]

Social influences on the development of ringtailed lemur feeding ecology

As they grow, young individuals can use both social and individual learning strategies to develop species-typical feeding ecology, and the utility of these strategies may vary phylogenetically and with environmental stability. Focused learning from mothers and other group members is critical in monkeys, with behaviours such as co-feeding playing strong roles in determining postweaning survival. […]

Squealing rate indicates dominance rank in the male ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta)

Squeals are sharp and forceful short-range vocalizations used as aggressive and submissive agonistic signals by many mammalian species. The ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta), a female-dominant strepsirhine primate, has a male-specific squeal call with proposed male–male agonistic functions and male–female courtship functions that have never been empirically tested. The goal of my study is to clarify […]

Comparison of the genetic variation of captive ring-tailed lemurs with a wild population in Madagascar

Genetic variability among captive and wild ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) was assessed using mitochondrial and nuclear DNA data. A 529 bp segment of mtDNA was sequenced and 9 microsatellite loci were genotyped for 286 ring-tailed lemurs. Samples were obtained from the well-studied L. catta population at the Bezà Mahafaly Special Reserve and from captive animals at […]