The aim of this short research project was to investigate whether two lemur species, Verreaux’s sifaka (Propithecus verreauxi) and the red-fronted brown lemur (Eulemur rufifrons), showed significant dietary overlap during the late dry season in Kirindy Forest in Madagascar. We hypothesised that the species would show a significant overlap in diet composition due to limited food availability during this period of the year. To limit direct competition, we expected niche separation to occur in terms of spatial and temporal preferences. During focal observations of two weeks at the end of the dry season, a total of 21 plant species were observed to be consumed by the two species of lemur, of which five were used by both species. Furthermore, we found that brown lemurs tended to rest more in the morning and feed more in the (late) afternoon. They tended to feed mostly on the lower half of the trees as well as on the ground, while sifakas preferred the upper part of the tree. Brown lemurs appeared to have a more diverse diet compared to sifakas as they included fruit in their diet as well. Nevertheless, both species seemed to rely on leaves during this period of the year. The species thus showed some overlap in diet composition, both in their preferred tree species and in food items consumed, but they showed niche separation to a certain extent in terms of spatial and temporal preferences.
|Publication status||Published - 2013|