The Relationship between Range and Foraging Behavior of Free Ranging Supported Lemur Catta on St. Catherine's Island, GA

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Ghandhi, Michelle
Keith-Lucas, Timothy
Issue Date
Scholarship Sewanee 2011 , University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee , Undergraduate research , Lemurs , Lemur catta , Home range , Foraging , St. Catherine's Island, Georgia
Lemur catta, commonly known as ring-tailed lemurs, inhabit Madagascar (where the species is endemic), feeding on a diet primarily composed of natural fruit such as tamarind (Jolly 2006). Previous research shows that a positive relationship exists between home range and foraging behavior in many primates, including Lemur catta. The main goal of the current work is to determine if L. catta on St. Catherine’s exhibit a similar relationship between home range and foraging. A secondary goal of this project was to determine the home range of four troops to infer social interactions (or lack thereof) among troops. Four female Lemur catta of different troops were chosen as the subjects (JEN ’96, SAL ’08, JAY ’08, NEW ’92); each troop is provided a diet of fruit and primate biscuit, though they are known to eat some vegetation on St. Catherine’s (Keith-Lucas 2011). Focal samples were recorded on the same four subjects opportunistically between 600 and 2000 hours, with at least twenty-four hours on each subject. Data collection occurred from June 6, 2010 to August 2, 2010. Although we did not find a correlation between range size and frequency of foraging, we did find that troops had created exclusive ranges, such that home ranges rarely overlap.