SOCIAL BEHAVIOR


The females of this species sleep in together in groups of up to 15 individuals, with the males generally sleeping alone. The females may gain an advantage during the breeding season in nesting in groups by having a lower infant mortality rate (Glatston, 1986). The infant mortality rate was found to be lower amongst infants reared in a group environment as opposed to just with their mothers (Glatston, 1986). The male and female home ranges overlap, with one male's range overlapping that of several females. Usually a couple of central males will have territories that overlap a few females while on the fringes there will be peripheral males (Martin, 1972). The central males are the more dominant ones and may sexually inhibit the peripheral males by urinary pheromones (Schmid and Kappeler, 1998). In this species the females are dominant over the males. This nocturnal species sleeps in nests during the day (Fleagle, 1988). The gray mouse lemur is a solitary forager (Fleagle, 1988). The males disperse while the females are philopatric until their first seasonal estrus then they disperse (Perret, 1990). During the breeding season when there sexual competition amongst the males for females, the males will form a social hierarchy (Perret, 1992). The highest ranking male performs most (60%) of the sexual behaviors towards the estrus females (Perret, 1995). Dominant males will emitted most of the trill calls, and the dominant males will perform aggressive behavioral patterns at the highest frequency of occurrence and perform defensive behavioral patterns at the lowest frequency of occurrence (Zimmermann, 1995). Sperm competition may also be high for this species based on the increase in testes size before the breeding season and the occurrence of vaginal plugs (Schmid and Kappeler, 1998). Play occurs between the mother and her juveniles and includes the young chasing their mother and also where the juveniles would jump on the tail or hands of the mother (Glatston, 1979).

[Gray Mouse Lemur] [Morphology] [Range] [Ecology] [Locomotion] [Social Behavior] [Vocal Communication] [Olfactory Communication] [Visual Communication] [Tactile Communication [Reproduction] [References]


Last Updated: January 25, 2007.
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