Social boundaries in a Malagasy Prosimian, the Sifaka (Propithecus verreauxi)
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- Richard, A.F. Int J Primatol (1985) 6: 553. doi:10.1007/BF02692288
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Using focal animal samples, the social organization of sifakas was studied in two forests for 2500 hr spread over 18 months. Data were also obtained on the size and composition of groups at two other sites. The size and adult sex ratio of groups varied widely within populations, although population-wide sex ratios approached unity. During the brief annual mating season, some males mated with females belonging to other groups. The response of both male and female group members to the approach of a nongroup male appeared to depend on his identity. It is argued that while group size may be constrained by the availability of resources, group composition reflects the effects of small-sample demographic variations rather than the outcome of reproductive competition among or between males and females. Spatial boundaries of groups do not coincide with social or reproductive boundaries even within a single breeding season; further study is needed of the processes whereby relationships are established and maintained between individuals from different groups.