Strategies of food detection in a captive cathemeral lemur, Eulemur rubriventer

Mats Perrenoud, Anthony Herrel, Antony Borel, Emmanuelle Pouydebat


The senses involved in food detection in primates in general, and lemurs in particular, remain poorly investigated. However, as lemurs include diurnal, nocturnal, and cathemeral species they represent a good model to test whether prey detection is dependent on activity pattern. As both diurnal and nocturnal species have been investigated previously we here aim to quantify the relative importance of different sensory modalities during prey detection in a cathemeral species, the red-bellied lemur (Eulemeur rubriventer). A series of experiments was performed using a group of four Eulemur rubriventer (Zoo de La Londe les Maures, France) to test the role of visual, olfactory and acoustic cues in prey detection. Both unimodal and multimodal cues were tested. The responses obtained in the different experiments show that visual cues are essential for prey detection in this species, at least in captivity. However, the use of multiple sensory modalities improves the success of detection suggesting that cathemeral species may benefit from the use of multiple sensory modalities.


food detection; visual cues; cathemeral species; Eulemur rubriventer

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