Moonlight and Behavior in Nocturnal and Cathemeral Primates, Especially Lepilemur leucopus: Illuminating Possible Anti-Predator Efforts

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Abstract

What factors affect the behavioral decisions individuals make to forage, travel, rest, or engage in sociality, including reproductive behaviors, at a particular time or place? Decisions to engage in any of these activities should depend on trade-offs between gains in nutrients and, ultimately, in reproductive success, and predation risk (Lima & Dill, 1990). Lima & Dill argue that since most of the components of predation risk are potentially assessable by prey, prey may make behavioral decisions that could reduce the risks. In the case of foraging, a decision concerning foraging when a predation risk exists may differ from a decision based only upon energy considerations. However, Lima & Dill also review the variability of predator behavior, which may limit the prey’s ability to assess risk and the consequent cues prey could use to assess risk. For the observer, the difficulty is one of assessing the animal’s perceived risk of predation. Perceived risk is likely to be more important in understanding prey behavior than predation rate, since rate of predation is what we see after the evolution of anti-predator adaptations in morphology or behavior (Hill, 1998; Janson, 1998; Stanford, 2002).