Introduction

habitats. As they are phylogenetically distantly related, matching and/or differing eco-ethological pattern may be interpreted as independently derived adaptations related to ecology instead of shared derived characteristics due to common phy-logenetic history.

From field studies and anecdotal observations on Avahi laniger and A. occidentalis, two of the four currently recognized species (Thalmann and Geissmann, 2000, 2005), it can safely be inferred that they are socially and spatially pair-living, in small gregarious family groups (e.g., Albignac, 1981; Harcourt, 1991; Jolly, 1998; Petter et al., 1977; Razanahoera, 1981, 1988; Roth, 1996; Thalmann, 1998, 2001, 2002; Warren, 1994). To what degree this is also matched on the genetic level has not yet been investigated.

In Lepilemur the picture is less clear. More thorough field studies focusing on behavior and ecology have mainly been made on three out of eight currently recognized species (Andriaholinirina et al., 2005; Rumpler et al., 2001; Thalmann and Ganzhorn, 2003): the southern Lepilemur leucopus (Charles-Dominique and Hladik, 1971; Nash, 1998; Russell, 1977), the western L. ruficaudatus (e.g., Ganzhorn, 1993, 2002; Ganzhorn et al., 2004; Hilgartner et al., 2005; Hladik et al., 1980; Pietsch, 1998; Platner et al., 2005; Zinner et al., 2003), and the northwestern L. edwardsi (Albignac and Razanahoera, 1982; Ganzhorn, 1993; Rasoloharijaona, 2001; Rasoloharijaona et al., 2000, 2003; Razanahoera, 1981, 1988; Thalmann, 1996, 1998, 2001, Thalmann and Ganzhorn, 2003; Warren, 1994).

Whereas Charles-Dominique and Hladik (1971) inferred a dispersed harem system for L. leucopus, Russell (1977) doubted this conclusion. For L. ruficaudatus, dispersed pair-living has been inferred as a modal social organization (Ganzhorn and Kappeler, 1996; Pietsch, 1998; Zinner et al., 2003). For L. edwardsi, again, dispersed pair-living has been concluded by Thalmann (1998, 2002) and confirmed by Rasoloharijaona et al. (2003) while Warren and Crompton (1997) suggested a kind of "noyau" system—corresponding to a dispersed harem system in the terminology of Müller and Thalmann (2000). In any event, there seems to be more inter-and intraspecific variation in the social organization of sportive lemurs than in woolly lemurs.

In the following I report results of a comparative field study on A. occidentalis and L. edwardsi over several years to (1) provide basic descriptive data on aspects of their ecology and behavior, (2) explore possible links between behavior, ecology, and seasonality in the two species, and (3) test the hypothesis that A. occidentalisms behavior matches seasonality less than does L. edwardsi's behavior, and are differently adapted. This hypothesis is derived from observations that L. edwardsi's choice of feeding plants matches the forest composition significantly closer than does A. occidentalis and, hence, should react on plant food shortage during the lean dry season differently than A. occidentalis (Thalmann, 2001, 2002).

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