Effects of habitat alteration on resting behaviour of the sahamalaza sportive lemur in north west Madagascar

Melanie Seiler*, Marc Holderied, Christoph Schwitzer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

5 Citations (Scopus)


This study is the first to assess the impact of habitat degradation and fragmentation on sleeping site choice and activity budgets of the Sahamalaza sportive lemur (Lepilemur sahamalazensis), first described in February 2006 and exclusively confirmed for the remaining forest fragments on the Sahamalaza Peninsula. Seventeen individual Lepilemurs in forests of different degradation levels that used two classes of sleeping sites (tree holes vs. tree tangles) were observed for 606 h during the day and 324 h at night. 24-h activity budgets were quantified. Preliminary analyses show differences in the ratio of active to inactive behaviour: (a) between different types of sleeping sites, and (b) between differently degraded forest fragments. Individuals resting in tree tangles were active during 7.4 % of daylight hours, while those resting in tree holes were active for 25.4 % of the time. During the day, Lepilemurs never left their chosen resting site. Individuals in a young secondary forest fragment were active for 14.3 min/h during daylight hours, in mixed and mature secondary forest fragments 12.6 and 9.1 min/h, respectively, and in a degraded primary forest fragment 2.7 min/h. However, the latter group had a higher percentage of time out of sight. These differences are most likely predator avoidance strategies and highlight the importance of intact mature forests for this species. Further research into the diurnal habits of this nocturnal primate, investigating their anti-predator responses, and detailed habitat requirements is ongoing.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPrimates in Fragments
Subtitle of host publicationComplexity and Resilience
PublisherLiviana/Springer, New York
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781461488392
ISBN (Print)9781461488385
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


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