, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 113-129

The potential effects of sex, posture and living condition on lateralized behaviors in ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta)

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Abstract

This research explores the effects of posture, sex, and living condition on hand and side preferences of semi-free-ranging, adult ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) housed at the Duke University Primate Center in Durham, NC. Data were collected on 11 adult individuals (five females and six males) during normal daily activities over a ten-week period from May–July 2001. Variables analyzed in this study include unimanual behaviors (i.e., reach, hold, and limb used to start locomotion) and other potentially lateralized behaviors that do not involve handuse (i.e., whole-body turning and tail position). The data were analyzed to investigate potential individual and population level side biases for each behavior; potential sex biases in side preference for each behavior; and for ‘reach’, potential effects of posture (sitting, tripedal stance, or bipedal stance) on individual hand preferences. Additionally, to investigate potential effects of living condition on lateral biases, the data from this study were compared to data collected on the same individual Lemurs living under more restrictive living conditions during the previous year. Largely, as predicted based on available literature, we found that there was a significant sex difference across all hand-use categories and for whole-body turning, and that posture was a significant factor in the expression of hand preference for reaching. Contrary to previous research, the effect of living condition on lateral preferences was minimal, and no side preferences were found at the population level for any of the behaviors analyzed.