Social Organization

The majority of H. g. griseus groups contain 2 to 7 individuals, although some may have as many as 11 individuals (Grassi, 2001; Overdorff et al., 1997; Petter et al., 1977; Pollock, 1986; Tan, 1999, 2000; Wright, 1986). The social organization is variable: groups may consist of a breeding pair or a breeding male with two breeding females (Pollock, 1986; Tan, 1999, 2000). Both sexes are known to disperse from natal groups (Grassi, 2001; Tan, 2000). Preliminary data suggest that females are socially dominant over males (C. Tan, unpublished data).

H. g. alaotrensis are found in small groups with no more than 9 individuals. About 50% of the groups are family groups but a considerable number (35%) include two breeding females. In addition, the dispersal pattern shows that males and females both migrate (Mutschler et al., 2000; Nievergelt et al., 2002). There is clear female dominance in H. g. alaotrensis, and more than 90% of all conflicts are over food (Waeber and Hemelrijk, 2003).

Small group sizes (of up to 6 or 7 individuals) have been reported for H. g. meridionalis and H. g. occidentalis (Goodman and Sch├╝tz, 2000; Mutschler and Tan, 2003; Raxworthy and Rakotondraparany, 1988). No additional social information is available.

H. aureus generally lives in small family groups (Meier et al., 1987; Tan, 1999, 2000; Wright and Randriamanantena, 1989). In Talatakely, RNP, 80% of H. aureus groups contain a breeding pair; however, there can be two breeding females and up to 8 individuals in the group. Long-term demographic data collected between 1996 and 2006 show that both sexes migrate. There is no clear dominance hierarchy between the sexes (C. Tan, unpublished data).

The H. simus group in Talatakely, RNP, consists of one breeding male and two breeding females (Tan, 1999, 2000). The maximum number of individuals in the group at one time is 13. In highly disturbed areas, multimale/multifemale groups (of up to 30 individuals) have been reported (Andriaholinirina et al., 2003; C. Spoegler, personal communication). In RNP, only males disperse and females remain in their natal group (Tan, 2000). Furthermore, there is evidence supporting male dominance, particularly during feeding context, in this species (C. Tan, unpublished data).

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