Figure 3. Seasonal variations of body mass in adult male and female Cheirogaleus medius of Kirindy forest. Given are mean and SD; data are pooled over the whole study period; body mass of each individual was included maximally once per month of a certain year.
berries with high sugar content are the staple food, and seem to be preferred to fruit items with low sugar content (Petter, 1978; Hladik et al., 1980; Petter-Rousseaux and Hladik, 1980; Fietz and Ganzhorn, 1999). In addition to seasonal variations in diet, the fat-tailed dwarf lemur also shows seasonal changes in locomotor activity. After emergence from hibernation in November, nightly travel distances increase until February. Between February and April, which is shortly before the onset of hibernation (Figure 2), locomotor activity is extremely reduced and nightly travel distances are halved (Fietz and Ganzhorn, 1999). Thus, during the prehibernation fattening C. medius accumulate fat stores for winter by eating high-energy, sugary fruits, as well as by drastically reducing their locomotor activity.
In hibernating species, the quantity of fat stored before the onset of hibernation is believed to influence winter mortality, as only individuals with sufficient energy stores are able to survive (Geiser and Kenagy, 1993; Florant, 1998). Furthermore, body condition at emergence, which again is dependent on levels of prehibernation fat storage, was shown to critically influence fecundity and reproductive success in the following reproductive period in several hibernating species (Barnes, 1984; Kenagy, 1985; Kenagy and Barnes, 1988; Hackländer and Arnold, 1999; Millesi et al., 1999). In mammals, females generally incur higher reproductive costs than males, due to pregnancy and lactation (Clutton-Brock and Harvey, 1978; Clutton-Brock et al., 1989). Nevertheless, in species exhibiting male parental care, high reproductive costs should be anticipated for both sexes. This is the case for C. medius. Here not only do females incur considerable energetic costs through reproduction, but also males through infant care, resulting in reduced fat stores and body condition in both sexes in comparison to nonreproducing individuals before
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