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Female Dominance and Social Structure in Alaotran Gentle Lemurs

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image of Behaviour

Lemur social systems have the striking social feature, that adult females consistently evoke submissive behaviour of adult males. In the Alaotran gentle lemur, Hapalemur griseus alaotrensis, however, female dominance has not been studied yet. Here we confirm female dominance over males on the basis of a 5-month field study of the social behaviour of four groups, in the Lake Alaotra marshland of eastern Madagascar. Further, we found that dominant individuals initiated aggressive interactions significantly more often than lowerranking ones, they initiated group movements more often and higher-ranking individuals were groomed more often. The spatial configuration was remarkable, since individuals were closer in space to those more distant in rank.


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