Mammalian Biology

, Volume 76, Issue 2, pp 157–164 | Cite as

Home range size in the blue-eyed black lemur (Eulemur flavifrons): A comparison between dry and wet seasons

  • M. Sylviane N. Volampeno
  • Judith C. Masters
  • Colleen T. DownsEmail author
Original Investigation


Western Madagascar is subjected to a long, dry winter season which coincides with food scarcity. We investigated the effect of this seasonal variation in food availability on the home ranges of blue-eyed black lemurs (Eulemur flavifrons) in the Sahamalaza-Iles Radama National Park, north-western Madagascar. It was expected that home range would increase and overlap more in the dry season. The study was conducted in an area of dry rainforest from September 2006 to March 2008 with five lemur groups. Animals were located by direct observation and geographical locations recorded to determine the daily path length and the home range sizes of the study groups in the respective seasons. Daily path length and home range size varied significantly between seasons. Daily path length was significantly greater in the dry season (673.4 ± 539.2 m) than in the wet season (423.6 ± 183.2 m). Home ranges overlapped between groups in both seasons, but were significantly larger during the dry season (MCP: 7.5 ± 6.6 ha, 95% Kernel: 8.5 ± 6.6 ha) than in the wet season (MCP: 3.0 ± 1.6 ha, 95% Kernel: 4.1 ± 1.6 ha). There was no clear relationship between home range size and group size in either the dry or the wet season. Seasonal changes in home range area are likely to be a consequence of reduced food availability in the dry season. Compared to other primates, including some lemur species, the home range size of the blue-eyed black lemur is relatively small.


Lemur Home range Seasonal variation Food scarcity Group size 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Balko, E.A., 1998. A behaviorally plastic response to forest composition and logging disturbance by Varecia variegata variegata in Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar. Ph.D. Thesis, State University of New York, Syracuse.Google Scholar
  2. Basabose, A.K., 2005. Ranging patterns of Chimpanzees in a montane forest of Kahuz, Democratic Republic of Congo. Int. J. Primatol. 26, 33–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bayart, F., Simmen, B., 2005. Demography, range use and behavior in black lemurs (Eulemur macaco macaco) at Ampasikely, northwest Madagascar. Am. J. Primatol. 67, 299–312.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. Bermejo, M., 2004. Home range use and intergroup encounters in western gorillas (Gorilla g. gorilla) at Lossi Forest, North Congo. Am. J. Primatol. 64, 223–232.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Burt, W.H., 1943. Territoriality and home range concepts as applied to mammals. J. Mammal. 24, 346–352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chapman, C.A., Wrangham, R.W., Chapman, L.J., 1995. Ecological constraints on group size: an analysis of spider monkey and chimpanzee subgroups. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 36, 59–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Clutton-Brock, T.H., Harvey, P.H., 1977. Species differences in feeding and ranging behavior in primates. In: Clutton-Brock, T.H. (Ed.), Primate Ecology. Academic Press, London, pp. 557–583.Google Scholar
  8. Colquhoun, I.C., 1993. The socioecology of Eulemur macaco: a preliminary report. In: Kappeler, P.M., Ganzhorn, J.U. (Eds.), Lemur Social Systems and Their Ecological Basis. Plenum Press, New York, pp. 11–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Curtis, D.J., Zaramody, A., 1998. Group size, home range, and seasonal variation in the ecology of Eulemur mongoz. Int. J. Primatol. 19, 811–835.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Davidge, C., 1978. Ecology of baboons at Cape point. Afr. Zool. 13, 329–350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. De Solla, S.R., Bonduriansky, R., Brooks, R.J., 1999. Eliminating autocorrelation reduces biological relevance of home range estimates. J. Anim. Ecol. 68, 221–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dewar, R.E., Richard, A.F., 2007. Evolution in the hypervariable environment of Madagascar. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 104, 13723–13727.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  13. Dunbar, R.I.M., 1988. Primate Social Systems. Croom Helm, London/Sydney.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Erhart, E.M., Overdorff, D.J., 2008a. Population demography and social structure changes in Eulemur fulvus rufus from 1988 to 2003. Am. J. Phys. Anthrop. 136, 183–193.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  15. Erhart, E.M., Overdorff, D.J., 2008b. Spatial memory during foraging in prosimian primates: Propithecus edwardsi and Eulemur fulvus rufus. Folia Primatol. 79, 185–196.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  16. Fernandez, M.H., Vrba, E.S., 2005. Body size, biomic specialization and range size of African large mammals. J. Biogeogr. 32, 1243–1256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ganzhorn, J.U., Goodman, S.M., Ramanamanjato, J.B., Ralison, J., Rakotondravony, D., Rakotosamimanana, B., 2000. Effects of fragmentation and assessing minimum viable populations of lemurs in Madagascar. In: Rheinwald, G., (Ed.), Isolated vertebrate communities in the tropics. Bonn. Zool. Monogr. 46, 265–272.Google Scholar
  18. Ganzhorn, J.U., Lowry, P.P., Schatz, G.E., Sommer, S., 2001. The biodiversity of Madagascar. One of the world’s hottest hotspots on its way out. Oryx 35, 346–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Glessner, K.D.G., Britt, A., 2005. Population density and home range size of Indri indri in a protected low altitude rain forest. Int. J. Primatol. 26, 855–872.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Green, G.M., Sussman, R.W., 1990. Deforestation history of the eastern rain forests of Madagascar from satellite images. Science 248, 212–215.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gwenzi, D., Katsvanga, C.A.T., Ngorima, G.T., Mupangwa, J.F., Valintine, S., 2007. Baboon Papio ursinus ranging patterns and troop size relative to bark stripping in the Chimanimani Pine Plantations of Zimbabwe. Acta Zool. Sinica 53, 777–782.Google Scholar
  22. Harris, T.A., Chapman, C.A., 2007. Variation in diet and ranging of black and white colobus monkeys in Kibale National Park, Uganda. Primates 48, 208–221.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  23. Hayne, D.W., 1949. Calculation of size of home range. J. Mammal. 30, 1–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hemingway, C., Bynum, N., 2005. The influence of seasonality on primate diet and ranging. In: van Schaik, C., Brockman, D. (Eds.), Seasonality in Primates: Studies of Living and Extinct Human and Non-human Primates. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 57–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Irwin, M.T., 2008. Diademad Sifaka (Propithecus diadema) ranging and habitat use in continuous and fragmented forest: higher density but lower viability in fragments? Biotropica 40 (2), 231–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Isbell, L., 1983. Daily ranging behavior of red colobus (Colobus badius tephrosceles) in Kibale forest, Uganda. Folia Primatol. 41, 34–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Isbell, L.A., Pruetz, J.D., Young, T.P., 1998. Movements of vervets (Cercopithecus aethiops) and patas monkeys (Erythrocebus patas) as estimators of food resource size, density, and distribution. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 42, 123–133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Jewell, P.A., 1966. The concept of home range in mammals. J. Zool. Lond. 18, 88–100.Google Scholar
  29. Jury, M.R., 2003. The climate of Madagascar. In: Goodman, S.M., Benstead, J.P. (Eds.), The Natural History of Madagascar. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp. 75–87.Google Scholar
  30. Ikeda, H., 1982. Population changes and ranging behaviour of wild Japanese monkeys at Mt. Kawaradake in Kyushu, Japan. Primates 23, 339–347.Google Scholar
  31. Kemohan, B.J., Gitzen, R.A., Millspaugh, J.J., 2001. Analysis of animal space use and movements. In: Millspaugh, J.J., Marzluff, J.M. (Eds.), Radio Tracking and Animal Populations. Academic Press, San Diego, pp. 125–166.Google Scholar
  32. Kirkpatrick, R.C., Long, Y.C., Zhong, T., Xia, L., 1998. Social organization and range in the Yunnan snub-monkey Rhinopithecus bieti. Int. J. Primatol. 19, 13–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Koenders, L., Rumpler, Y., Ratsirarson, J., Peyrieras, A., 1985. Lemur macaco flavifrons (Gray, 1867): a rediscovered subpsecies of primate. Folia Primatol. 44, 210–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lahann, P., 2008. Habitat utilization on three sympatric Cheirogaleid lemur species in a littoral rain forest of Southeastern Madagascar. Int. J. Primatol. 29, 117–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lehman, S.M., Nargolwalla, M., Faulkner, A., Taylor, N., Lundy, R., 2007. Test of the optimal body size model for strepsirhines. Int. J. Primatol. 28 (1), 211–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Li, B.G., Chen, C., Ji, W., Ren, B., 2000. Seasonal home range changes of the Sichuan snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus roxellana) in the Qinling Mountains of China. Folia Primatol. 71, 375–386.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Mace, G.M., Harvey, P.H., 1983. Energetic constraints on home range size. Am. Nat. 121, 120–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Mares, M.A., Willing, M.R., Bitar, N.A., 1980. Home range size in eastern chipmunk, Tamias striatus as a function of number of captures: statistical biases of inadequate sampling. J. Mammal. 61, 661–669.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Milton, K., May, M., 1976. Body weight, diet and home range in primates. Nature 259, 459–462.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  40. Mittermeier, R.A., Ganzhorn, J.U., Konstant, W.R., Glander, K., Tattersall, I., Groves, C.P., Rylands, A.B., Hapke, A., Ratsimbazafy, J., Mayor, M.I., Louis, E.E., Rumpler, Y., Schwitzer, C., Rasoloarison, R., 2008. Lemur diversity in Madagascar. Int. J. Primatol. 29, 1607–1656.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Mittermeier, R.A., Konstant, W.R., Hawkins, F., Louis, E.E., Langrand, O., Ratsimbazafy, J., Rasoloarison, R., Ganzhorn, J.U., Rajaobelina, S., Tattersall, I., Meyers, D.M., 2006. Lemurs of Madagascar, second edition. Conservation International, Wahisngton, DC.Google Scholar
  42. Nelson, R., Horning, N., 1993. AVHRR-LAC estimates of forest area in Madagascar. Int. J. Remote Sens. 14, 1463–1475.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Norscia, I., Carrai, V., Borgognini-Tarli, S.M., 2006. Influence of dry season and food quality and quantity on behavior and feeding strategy of Propithecus verreauxi in Kirindy, Madagascar. Int. J. Primatol. 27, 1001–1022.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Nugent, G., 1994. Home range size and its development for fallow deer in the Blue Mountains, New Zealand. Acta Theriol. 39, 159–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Nunn, C.L., Barton, R.A., 2000. Allometric slopes and independent contrasts: a comparative test of Kleiber’s law in primate ranging patterns. Am. Nat. 156, 519–533.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  46. Overdorff, D.J., 1993. Ecological and reproductive correlates to range use in red-bellied lemurs (Eulemur rubriventer) and rufous lemurs (Eulemur fulvus rufus). In: Kappeler, P.M., Ganzhorn, J.U. (Eds.), Lemur Social Systems and Their Ecological Basis. Plenum Press, New York, pp. 167–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Overdorff, D.J., Merenlender, A.M., Talata, P., Telo, A., Forward, Z., 1999. Life history of Eulemur fulvus rufus from 1988–1998 in Southeastern Madagascar. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 108, 295–310.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  48. Overdorff, D.J., Johnson, S., 2003. Eulemur, true lemurs. In: Goodman, S.M., Benstead, J.P. (Eds.), The Natural History of Madagascar. University of Chicago Press, pp. 1320–1324.Google Scholar
  49. Perry, G., Garland, T., 2002. Lizard home ranges revisited: effects of sex, body size, diet, habitat and phylogeny. Ecology 83, 1870–1885.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Ramanamanjato, J.B., 2000. Fragmentation effects on reptiles and amphibian diversity in the littoral forest of southeastern Madagascar. In: Rheinwald, G., (Ed.), Isolated vertebrate communities in the tropics. Bonn. Zool. Monogr. 46, 297–308.Google Scholar
  51. Richard, A.F., Dewar, R.E., Schwartz, M., Ratsirarson, J., 2002. Life in the slow lane? Demography and life histories of male and female sifaka (Propithecus verreauxi verreauxi). J. Zool. 256, 421–436.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Rigamonti, M.M., 1993. Home range and diet in red ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegata rubra) on the Masoala peninsula, Madagascar. In: Kappeler, P.M., Ganzhorn, J.U. (Eds.), Lemur Social Systems and Their Ecological Basis. Plenum Press, New York, pp. 25–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Robbins, M.M., McNeilage, A., 2003. Home range and frugivory patterns of Mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda. Int. J. Primatol. 24, 467–491.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Rodgers, A.R., Carr, A.P., 1998. HRE: The Home Range Extension for Arc View Users Manual. Ministry of Natural Resources, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.Google Scholar
  55. Rylands, A.B., 1986. Ranging behaviour and habitat preference of a wild marmoset group, Callithrix humeralifer (Callithrichidae, Primates). J. Zool. 210, 489–514.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Schoener, T.W., 1971. Theory of feeding strategies. Ann. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 2, 369–404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Scholz, F., Kappeler, P.M., 2004. Effects of seasonal water scarcity on the ranging behavior of Eulemur fulvus rufus. Int. J. Primatol. 25, 599–613.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Schwitzer, N., Kaumanns, W., Seitz, P.C., Schwitzer, C., 2007a. Cathemeral activity patterns of the blue-eyed black lemur Eulemur flavifrons in intact and degraded forest fragments. Endang. Species Res. 3, 239–247.Google Scholar
  59. Schwitzer, N., Randriatahina, G.H., Kaumanns, W., Hoffmeister, D., Schwitzer, C., 2007b. Habitat utilization of blue-eyed black lemurs, Eulemur macaco flavifrons (Gray, 1867), in primary and altered forest fragments. Primate Conserv. 22, 79–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Seaman, D.E., Powell, R.A., 1996. An evaluation of the accuracy of kernel density estimators for home range analysis. Ecology 77, 2075–2085.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Singleton, I., van Schaik, C., 2001. Orangutan home-range size and its determinants in a Sumatran swamp forest. Int. J. Primatol. 22, 877–911.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Smith, A.P., 1997. Deforestation, fragmentation and reserve design in western Madagascar. In: Laurence, W., Bierregaard, O.W. (Eds.), Tropical Forest Remnants, Ecology, Management and Conservation of Fragmented Communities. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL, pp. 415–441.Google Scholar
  63. Sorg, J.-P., Rohner, U., 1996. Climate and tree phenology of the dry deciduous forest of the Kirindy forest. In: Ganzhorn, J.U., Sorg, J.-P. (Eds.), Ecology and Economy of a Tropical Dry Forest in Madagascar: Primate Report 46-1. Goltze, Gottingen.Google Scholar
  64. Stevenson, P.R., 2006. Activity and ranging patterns of Colombian woolly monkeys in north-western Amazonia. Primates 47, 239–247.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  65. Suzuki, A., 1979. The variation and adaptation of social groups of chimpanzees and black and white. In: Bernstein, I.S., Smith, E.O. (Eds.), Primate Ecology and Human Origins. Garland STPM Press, New York, pp. 153–173.Google Scholar
  66. Swihart, R.K., Slade, N.A., 1985. Influence of sampling interval on estimates of home range size. J. Wildl. Manage. 49, 1019–1025.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Swihart, R.K., Slade, N.A., 1997. On testing for independence of animal movements. J. Agric. Biol. Environ. Stat. 2, 48–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Swihart, R.K., Slade, N.A., Bergestrom, B.J., 1988. Relating body size to the rate of home range use in mammals. Ecology 69, 393–399.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Takasaki, H., 1981. Troop size, habitat quality and home range area in Japanese macaques. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 9, 277–281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Takasaki, H., 1984. A model for relating troop sizes and home range area in a primate species. Primates 25, 22–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Tan, C., 1999. Group composition, home range size and diet on three sympatric bamboo lemur species (Genus Hapalemur) in Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar. Int. J. Primatol. 20, 547–566.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. van Schaik, C., Brockman, D., 2005. Seasonality in primate ecology, reproduction, and life history: an overview. In: van Schaik, C., Brockman, D. (Eds.), Seasonality in Primates: Studies of Living and Extinct Human and Non-human Primates. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 3–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Vasey, N., 2000. Niche separation in Varecia variegata rubra and Eulemur fulvus albifrons. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 30, 309–310.Google Scholar
  74. Vasey, N., 2006. Impact of seasonality and reproduction on social structure, ranging patterns and fission-fusion social organization in red ruffed lemurs. In: Gould, L., Sauther, M.L. (Eds.), Lemurs: Ecology and Adaptation. Springer, New York, pp. 275–304.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Volampeno, N.S.M., 2009. Reproductive behaviour and habitat use in the blue-eyed black lemur (Eulemur flavifrons, Gray, 1867) at the Sahamalaza — Iles Radama National Park, Madagascar. Ph.D. Thesis, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg Campus.Google Scholar
  76. Warren, R.D., Crompton, R.H., 1997. A comparative study of the ranging behaviour, activity rhythms and sociality of Lepilemur edwardsi (Primates, Lepilemuridae) and Avahi occidentalis (Primates, Indriidae) at Ampijoroa, Madagascar. J. Zool. 243, 397–415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Watts, D.P., 1998. Long-term habitat use by mountain gorillas (Gorilla gorilla beringei). 1. Consistency, variation and home range size and stability. Int. J. Primatol. 19, 651–680.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. WCS/DEC (Wildlife Conservation Society/Development Environmnet Consult), 2002. Etude de faisabilité de la création d’Aire Protégée Marine Côtière et plan de développement pour le site de la Réserve Biosphère Marine Sahamalaza Madagascar. Wildlife Conservation Society Madagascar, Unpublished report.Google Scholar
  79. White, F.J., 1991. Social organization, feeding ecology, and reproductive strategy of ruffed lemurs, Varecia variegata. In: Ehara, A., Kimura, T., Takenaka, O., Iwamoto, M. (Eds.), Primatology Today Proceedings of the XIII Congress of the International Primatological Society, Nagoya and Kyoto, 18–24 July 1990. Elsevier Science, Amsterdam, pp. 81–84.Google Scholar
  80. Worton, B.J., 1989. Kernel methods for estimating the utilisation distribution in home range studies. Ecology 70, 164–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Wright, P.C., 2006. Considering climate change effects in lemur ecology and conservation. In: Gould, L., Sauther, M.L. (Eds.), Lemurs Ecology and Adaptation. Spring-Verlag, New York, pp. 385–404.Google Scholar
  82. Zhou, Z.Q., Chengming, H., Li, Y., 2007. Ranging behavior of the François’langur (Trachypithecus francoisi) in the Fusui Nature Reserve, China. Primates 48, 320–323.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Sylviane N. Volampeno
    • 1
  • Judith C. Masters
    • 1
    • 2
  • Colleen T. Downs
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Biological and Conservation SciencesUniversity of KwaZulu-NatalScottville, PietermaritzburgSouth Africa
  2. 2.University of Fort HareAliceSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations