Adult Male Scent-Marking in Lemur catta and Eulemur fulvus rufus
- Cite this article as:
- Gould, L. & Overdorff, D.J. International Journal of Primatology (2002) 23: 575. doi:10.1023/A:1014921701106
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Scent-marking and olfactory communication are used extensively by prosimians and can provide spatial and temporal records of group movement and behavior. We compare rates of male scent-marking in relation to reproductive seasons, male dominance rank, and habitat use in two related prosimians: Lemur catta and Eulemur fulvus rufus. We collected scent-marking data on adult male Lemur catta at Beza-Mahafaly Reserve (dry forest), and on Eulemur fulvus rufus at Ranomafana National Park (rainforest), Madagascar. In Lemur, rates of overall scent-marking differed significantly by reproductive season, with higher rates occurring in mating and lactation/migration periods, whereas in Eulemur, reproductive season did not appear to affect scent-marking rates. Dominance rank of male Lemur catta did not affect rates of scent-marking. Among male Eulemur fulvus, dominance relations were not apparent; however, 2 of the 5 focal males scent-marked somewhat more frequently during the mating season and also experienced greater mating success. In Lemur catta, higher rates of scent-marking in the mating season may relate to indirect reproductive competition during a period of high aggression, while such mating competition was not as marked in Eulemur fulvus. Furthermore, higher rates of marking in resident male Lemur catta during male migration may correlate with vigilance toward immigrating males. Greater overall scent-marking rates in ring-tailed lemurs may relate to extensive intergroup home range overlap and no area of exclusive use, whereas the red-fronted lemur groups tended to forage in areas of their home range where little-to-no intergroup overlap occurred.