Lactate, nest, stash




Mar Apr May

Jun Jul




Nov Dec

Fruit Flowers Young leaves

peak"- ' peak" , ;

peak"- "'' ''


h r rise"- '

h r rise"-'

" Phenological data from Andrianisa (1989), Nosy Mangabe, northeastern Madagascar.

11 Phenological data from Rigamonti (1993), Ambatonakolahy, Masoala Peninsula, northeastern Madagascar.

' Phenological data from Overdorff (1993a,b). Only superscripts are entered in the table as data are from the Pare National de Ranomafana in southeastern Madagascar.

ä Phenological data from Freed (1996). Only superscripts are entered in the table as data are from the Pare National de Montagne d'Ambre in northern Madagascar.

' Phenological data from Balko (1998). Only superscripts are entered in the table as data are from the Pare National de Ranomafana in southeastern Madagascar.

Study Population

The study population comprised one community of V. rubra. Ranging data were collected on adult animals on five to eight consecutive days per month over 12 consecutive months (Jan-Dec 1994) using focal animal sampling. Focal animal observation periods usually lasted from 8 to 13 hours per day, depending upon seasonal differences in day length and time needed to locate animals at dawn. V. rubra was observed for 672 hours (females, 463 hours; males, 209 hours) during 78 focal animal observation periods. To facilitate location of animals at the beginning of each observation period, three animals were fitted with radio-collars using a live-capture protocol established by Glander et al. (1991); each belonged to a different core group in the community (Table 2). Six of eleven adults in the community were sampled regularly (4 females and 2 males). So that data could be pooled (see Data Analysis), I attempted to equally represent study subjects by following each animal once per month. Because the study population lived in a large fission-fusion community and had a large home range (see Results), it was sometimes difficult to locate the focal animals without radio-collars. Steep terrain, dense forest, and intense rainfall compounded the difficulty of locating a specific member of the community on any given day. Despite these challenges, focal animals without radio-collars were sampled for full-day observation periods in 12 (Pale, female), 7 (White, female), and 5 (Collier Pied, male) months of the study. Two additional focal animals were sampled in the last month of study (Table 2). It was not possible to sample more than one male in every month. Varecia males are often solitary and spatially peripheral (Morland, 1991a,b; Vasey, 1997a) and only one male at Andranobe was fitted with a radio-collar. Focal animal data were collected only on the latter male during the hot rainy and cold rainy seasons. However, full-day focal animal observations on two or three different males were collected for every reproductive stage and in the other two seasons (transitional cold, hot dry), thus providing a representative database. All members of the study population, whether focals or not, were individually identified by various means. A more detailed description of the study population can be found in Vasey (1997a, 2000a).

Data Collection

Prior to data collection, my assistants and I became familiar with the forest where the study community was situated. Thereafter we cut trails to facilitate following animals. Cutting a quadrat or coordinate system was not feasible given the steep terrain and the enormous home range used by the community. Twenty-two trails were cut and compass bearings were taken at marked, 25-m intervals. We subsequently mapped trees and other landmarks with reference to the trail system via their distance and bearing from marked trail points. For V. rubra, we mapped 3 nest trees, 28 infant stashing trees, 493 feeding trees, and locations of territorial

Table 2. Size and age-sex composition of the Varecia rubra community and its core groups"

Community size

Core group 1

Core group 2

Core group 3

Core group 4

Core group 5

(« = 18-31)

(«= 5-7)

(w = 4-6)

(» = 2")

(« = 4-9)

(n = 9)

Adult females (n = 7-8)

Giant Pale

Red" Red NC'

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