Adult female feeding competition within two groups of free-ranging ringtailed lemurs (Lemur catta) in different habitats at the Beza Mahafaly Special Reserve, Southwestern Madagascar




Gemmill, Andrea

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Diet and female feeding competition was examined within two groups of free-ranging ringtailed lemurs (Lemur catta) at the Beza Mahafaly Special Reserve in southwestern Madagascar. The first group’s home range was located within a protected gallery forest, the second is in a degraded forest and human-occupied area. The diets of the females were found to vary between groups; females fed on different plant species, and those in the unprotected area frequently consumed human food scraps and domestic animal fecal matter. Contest and scramble competition were detected within both groups. Rates of feeding competition were found to increase according to the type of food being consumed; feeding on fruits and leaves correlated with increased competition in the reserve group, and feeding on human foods and animal fecal matter correlated with increased competition with the non-reserve group. These dietary and competitive differences highlight the need for continued, and possibly additional, protection of L. catta in this region.



biological anthropology, primatology, ringtailed lemurs, feeding ecology, feeding competition, Madagascar