CZAAWE Resource Article

The Influence of Social Organisation on Leadership in Brown Lemurs (Eulemur fulvus fulvus) in a Controlled Environment
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
2008
Authors 
Publication/Journal 
Behavioural Processes
ISBN 
03766357
Abstract 
Studies on leadership during group movements in several lemur species showed that females were responsible for the travelling choices concerning time and direction. Interestingly, in these species females are dominant over males. We investigated the influence of social organisation upon leadership processes by studying a lemur species in which social organisation is characterized by the absence of female dominance: the brown lemur (Eulemur fulvus fulvus). The study was conducted on a semi-free ranging group of 11 individuals and the analysis performed on 69 group movements showed that all the individuals could initiate a group movement. In 34 cases, the whole group moved. There was no significant difference in the number of start attempts or in the number of group members involved from one initiator to another. Moreover, there was no effect of sex or age of the initiator on the number of individuals following it or on the speed of the joining process. Therefore, the leadership observed is widely distributed to all group members. These results support the hypothesis of an influence of social organisation upon the decision-making processes but still remain to be studied in a more relevant ecological context.