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Supplementary Material for: Beyond the Gallery Forest: Contrasting Habitat and Diet in Lemur catta Troops at Bezà Mahafaly Special Reserve

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posted on 19.05.2015, 00:00 by Yamashita N., Sauther M.L., Cuozzo F.P., Youssouf Jacky I.A.
Ring-tailed lemurs have been studied intensively in the Parcel 1 gallery forest of Bezà Mahafaly Special Reserve. Here, we report on lemur groups in a mixture of deciduous dry forest and spiny forest just 5 km to the west. Compared to Parcel 1, Parcel 2 (P2) has a lower density of Tamarindus indica, a major dietary plant species for gallery forest lemurs. Recent studies in drier habitats have called into question the association of lemur density and tamarind presence. In order to address this question, we measured forest structure and composition of plant plots between parcels and conducted lemur feeding observations. The trees and shrubs within the parcels did not differ in height or diameter at breast height, but the frequencies of plant species that were common between parcels were significantly different. Numbers of feeding observations on foods common to both parcels did not differ, but their relative rankings within parcels did. Frequencies of food plants corresponded to earlier reports of lemur population densities. However, we found that the ring-tailed lemur diet is a mixture of plants that are eaten in abundance regardless of frequency and those that are locally available. In terms of their reliance on Tamarindus, P2 animals appear intermediate between those in gallery forests and nontamarind sites.