Correlates of dominance rank in female ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) during birth and lactation at the Beza Mahafaly Special Reserve, Madagascar




Bauer, Renee N.

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Dominance status in female ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) has a pervasive effect upon social organization, however the proximate mechanisms underlying female rank-relations remain poorly understood. I investigated how four such attributes - weight, age, agonistic frequency, and fecal testosterone levels - relate to female rank-order wild ring-tailed lemurs at the Beza Mahafaly Special Reserve, Madagascar. My results indicated that: (1) The mean weight of high-ranking females is significantly greater than in lower-ranking females; (2) The relationship of age in relation to rank follows an inverted J-shaped pattern, with old adults attaining the highest average rank, followed by prime adults, young adults, and very old adults; (3) Significant, positive correlations between rank and rates of agonism exist in four of the six study groups; and (4) The effect of rank on mean testosterone concentration was significant in one social troop, in which the two highest ianking females exhibited significantly lower mean testosterone levels.