, Volume 10, Issue 6, pp 595-606

Antipredator behavior in troops of free-rangingLemur catta at Beza Mahafaly special reserve, Madagascar

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Abstract

Observations of antipredator behavior in two troops of free-rangingLemur catta were made during a 13-month study ofL., catta feeding ecology. Both responses to and frequency of encounters with other species were recorded. Ringtailed lemur antipredator calls differentiated between terrestrial and avian predators. L. catta responded to the Madagascar harrier hawk (Polyboroides radiatus) and the Madagascar buzzard (Buteo brachypterus) in a specific manner that differed from their reaction to the other bird of prey in the reserve, the Black kite (Milvus migrants) and to potential mammalian and reptilian predators. Encounters with avian predators peaked during the birth season and when infants were being weaned. These periods coincide with previously observed nesting periods for the Harrier hawk and the buzzard, and with times when their offspring are fledged. Both were periods whenL. catta infants might have been especially vulnerable to prédation.