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Predation, pollination and torpor in two nocturnal primates Cheirogaleus major and Microcebus rufus in the rain forest of Madagascar



Predation, pollination and torpor in two nocturnal primates Cheirogaleus major and Microcebus rufus in the rain forest of Madagascar



American Journal of Physical Anthropology 37(Suppl. S18): 211



In order to better understand the torpor patterns of Cheirogaleus major, individuals were censused, trapped, radio collared and followed in the rain forest of Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar. Observations were made on diet, activity patterns, nesting behavior and predation. Microcebus rufus was trapped and censused to clarify how this small nocturnal sympatric primate responds to similar evolutionary pressures, but does not go into torpor. C. major was observed to be active beginning two days after the spring equinox and up until six days before the fall equinox, thus indicating that torpor is triggered by changes in photo period (equinox). M. rufus were observed foraging throughout the year, but trapping data suggest a contrast in activity between males and females during the winter months. C. major eats over 90% fruit, flowers/nectar. Plant phenology and fruit trap data suggest an association between fruit/nectar scarcity and C. major torpor. Predation was observed on C. major by diurnal vivirreds, Galidea elegans, and a boa constrictor, Sanzania madagascariensis, during the months February through April when the dwarf lemurs were fat, lethargic or in torpor. Lengthy torpor may not reduce risk of predation on C. major, but it does reduce potential food competition during an extended six months of fruit/flower scarcity.

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