, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp 721-753

Similarities, differences, and seasonal patterns in the diets ofEulemur rubriventer andEulemur fulvus rufus in the Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar

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Abstract

I studied the diets of two sympatric species ofEulemur (E. fulvus rufus andE. rubriventer) in the Ranomafana National Part in southeastern Madagascar from July 1988 through August 1989. Both species were highly frugivorous throughout the year and devoted similar amounts of time to feeding daily; the composition of their diets were similar. Three aspects of both lemur species' diets were correlated with seasonal food availability: changes in interspecific dietary overlap, the length of feeding bouts, and the amount of time devoted to feeding daily. Throughout the year neither species had a more diverse or more folivorous diet than its sympatric congener. However, there were several consistent year-round differences between their diets.E. f. rufus initiated more feeding bouts daily that were shorter in duration than those ofE. rubriventer. E. f. rufus also consistently exploited more unripe fruits and mature leaves thanE. rubriventer did throughout the study.E. f. rufus migrated from the study site during a period of fruit scarcity. These dietary patterns are discussed here in regard to feeding patterns observed in other sympatric congeneric primate species, whether these dietary differences can contribute to these two species' ability to coexist, and how differences in diet may be influenced by differences in social structure. I suggest that subtle, consistent differences in diet and seasonal dietary differences are sufficient to allow these two species to coexist.