Beza Mahafaly Special Reserve (beza + mahafaly_special_reserve)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

The impact of fallback foods on wild ring-tailed lemur biology: A comparison of intact and anthropogenically disturbed habitats

Michelle L. Sauther
Abstract Fallback foods are often viewed as central in shaping primate morphology, and influencing adaptive shifts in hominin and other primate evolution. Here we argue that fruit of the tamarind tree (Tamarindus indica) qualifies as a fallback food of ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) at the Beza Mahafaly Special Reserve (BMSR), Madagascar. Contrary to predictions that fallback foods may select for dental and masticatory morphologies adapted to processing these foods, consumption of tamarind fruit by these lemurs leaves a distinct pattern of dental pathology among ring-tailed lemurs at BMSR. Specifically, the physical and mechanical properties of tamarind fruit likely result in a high frequency of severe tooth wear, and subsequent antemortem tooth loss, in this lemur population. This pattern of dental pathology is amplified among lemurs living in disturbed areas at Beza Mahafaly, resulting from a disproportionate emphasis on challenging tamarind fruit, due to few other fruits being available. This is in part caused by a reduction in ground cover and other plants due to livestock grazing. As such, tamarind trees remain one of the few food resources in many areas. Dental pathologies are also associated with the use of a nonendemic leaf resource Argemone mexicana, an important food during the latter part of the dry season when overall food availability is reduced. Such dental pathologies at Beza Mahafaly, resulting from the use or overemphasis of fallback foods for which they are not biologically adapted, indicate that anthropogenic factors must be considered when examining fallback foods. Am J Phys Anthropol 140:671,686, 2009. 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

Behavioral responses to tooth loss in wild ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) at the Beza Mahafaly Special Reserve, Madagascar

James B. Millette
Abstract Severe dental wear and tooth loss is often assumed to impede the processing, breakdown, and energetic conversion of food items, thereby negatively impacting individual health, reproduction, and survival. Ring-tailed lemurs at the Beza Mahafaly Special Reserve demonstrate exceptionally high frequencies of severe dental wear and antemortem tooth loss, yet often survive multiple years with these impairments. To test the hypothesis that these lemurs mitigate tooth loss through behavioral adjustments, we collected 191 h of observational data from 16 focal subjects, eight without tooth loss and eight with between 3% and 44% loss. These data indicate dentally-impaired ring-tailed lemurs show compensatory behaviors consistent with the demands of living in a social group. During early afternoon (12:00,14:30 h) individuals with loss showed trends towards higher frequencies of foraging and grooming, while individuals without loss rested significantly more often. Individuals with >10% loss (n = 7) showed higher frequencies of feeding, foraging, and grooming, and lower frequencies of resting during this period than individuals with <10% loss (n = 9). Individuals with tooth loss maintained relatively higher levels of feeding and foraging throughout the day. These individuals licked tamarind fruit at higher frequencies, likely spending more time softening it before ingestion. These individuals did not demonstrate longer feeding bouts overall, although bouts involving tamarinds were significantly longer. Individuals with marked toothcomb wear engaged in higher rates of certain types of allogrooming, demonstrating that social behaviors are used to compensate for reduced grooming efficiency. These data have implications for interpreting behavioral responses to dental impairment in the fossil record. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2009. 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

Variation in dental wear and tooth loss among known-aged, older ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta): a comparison between wild and captive individuals

Frank P. Cuozzo
Abstract Tooth wear is generally an age-related phenomenon, often assumed to occur at similar rates within populations of primates and other mammals, and has been suggested as a correlate of reduced offspring survival among wild lemurs. Few long-term wild studies have combined detailed study of primate behavior and ecology with dental analyses. Here, we present data on dental wear and tooth loss in older (>10 years old) wild and captive ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta). Among older ring-tailed lemurs at the Beza Mahafaly Special Reserve (BMSR), Madagascar (n=6), the percentage of severe dental wear and tooth loss ranges from 6 to 50%. Among these six individuals, the oldest (19 years old) exhibits the second lowest frequency of tooth loss (14%). The majority of captive lemurs at the Indianapolis Zoo (n=7) are older than the oldest BMSR lemur, yet display significantly less overall tooth wear for 19 of 36 tooth positions, with only two individuals exhibiting antemortem tooth loss. Among the captive lemurs, only one lemur (a nearly 29 year old male) has lost more than one tooth. This individual is only missing anterior teeth, in contrast to lemurs at BMSR, where the majority of lost teeth are postcanine teeth associated with processing specific fallback foods. Postcanine teeth also show significantly more overall wear at BMSR than in the captive sample. At BMSR, degree of severe wear and tooth loss varies in same aged, older individuals, likely reflecting differences in microhabitat, and thus the availability and use of different foods. This pattern becomes apparent before "old age," as seen in individuals as young as 7 years. Among the four "older" female lemurs at BMSR, severe wear and/or tooth loss do not predict offspring survival. Am. J. Primatol. 72:1026,1037, 2010. 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

Assessment of organochlorine pesticides and metals in ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) at Beza Mahafaly Special Reserve, Madagascar

Thomas R. Rainwater
Abstract Like most of Madagascar's endemic primates, ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) face a number of threats to their survival. Although habitat loss is of greatest concern, other anthropogenic factors including environmental contamination may also affect lemur health and survival. In this study, we examined ring-tailed lemurs from the Beza Mahafaly Special Reserve (BMSR), southern Madagascar for exposure to organochlorine (OC) pesticides and metals and examined differences in contaminant concentrations between sexes and among age groups, troops, and habitats. A total of 14 pesticides and 13 metals was detected in lemur blood (24 individuals) and hair (65 individuals) samples, respectively. p,p,-DDT, heptachlor, aldrin, heptachlor epoxide, endrin aldehyde, and endrin were among the most prevalent pesticides detected. Surprisingly, the persistent metabolite of p,p,-DDT, p,p,-DDE, was not detected. The most commonly detected metals were aluminum, zinc, boron, phosphorus, silicon, and copper, whereas metals considered more hazardous to wildlife (e.g. arsenic, cadmium, lead, selenium, vanadium) were not found above detection limits. Overall, concentrations of OC pesticides and metals were low and similar to those considered to be background concentrations in other studies examining the ecotoxicology of wild mammals. Few inter-sex, -age, -troop, and -habitat differences in contaminant concentrations were observed, suggesting a uniform distribution of contaminants within the reserve. Several statistically significant relationships between lemur body size and contaminant concentrations were observed, but owing to the lack of supportive data regarding contaminant exposure in wild primates, the biological significance of these findings remains uncertain. Results of this study document exposure of ring-tailed lemurs at BMSR to multiple OC pesticides and metals and provide essential baseline data for future health and toxicological evaluations of lemurs and other wild primates, especially those in regions with expanding agricultural and mining operations. Am. J. Primatol. 71:998,1010, 2009. 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]