, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 9-15
Date: 14 Jul 2007

Body mass of wild ring-tailed lemurs in Berenty Reserve, Madagascar, with reference to tick infestation: a preliminary analysis

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In 1999, we measured the body mass of 101 wild ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) inhabiting the Berenty Reserve, Madagascar. In addition, we counted the number of ticks [Haemaphysalis (Rhipistoma) lemuris Hoogstraal, 1953] infesting their facial skin and external auditory meatuses. For both males and females, the body mass appeared to increase until the age of 3 years. With the apparent exception of infants, there were no sexual differences in body mass. Within a group, higher-ranked adult males tended to be heavier than lower-ranked males. In contrast, there was no consistent correlation between the body mass of females and their ranks. Among the study groups, there was a small difference in body mass and significant difference in the number of ticks infesting the facial skin and external auditory meatuses. In particular, lemurs of a group who inhabited an area of gallery forest in the study area exhibited the smallest values of body mass and were severely infested with ticks. Such group variations were not consistently correlated with the reproductive parameters of the study groups. In three groups moderately infested with ticks, ticks infested adult males and subadults more heavily than adult females, juveniles, and infants.