In mammals, olfactory communication plays an essential role in territorial and mating dynamics. Scent depositions in various species, including lemurs, can be placed via marking or overmarking (marking over previous depositions). We focused on the role that marking and overmarking play in territorial defence and intrasexual competition. We investigated these aspects in diademed sifaka (Propithecus diadema) in the primary rainforest of Maromizaha (eastern Madagascar). We collected scent marking data for five groups from April to November 2018 and from May to December 2019. We aimed to understand whether the lemurs deposited scent marks homogeneously across the home range and whether sex, rank, and occurrence of intergroup encounters affected the lemur’s deposition rate. We also asked whether males overmarked adult females more often than other depositions, and the marking and overmarking rates changed between the migration and non-migration seasons. We found that scent marking was performed higher in peripheral and overlapping areas than in the home range central areas. In addition, males had higher scent marking rates, but intergroup encounters did not affect deposition rates. Males showed higher rates of overmarking and primarily targeted dominant females’ depositions, particularly during the “migration” season (including premating and mating seasons). Our findings suggest a border-marking strategy in Propithecus diadema. More frequent scent marking in the “migration” season suggests intrasexual competition in males. Our results suggest that marking is associated with territorial and resource defence, suggesting that it plays a role in monopolizing females using a mate-guarding strategy and may also serve for males’ self-advertisement to females and subordinate depositors.

Marking Versus Overmarking: Spatial and Behavioral Patterns of Scent Marking in Wild Diademed Sifaka (Propithecus diadema)

Miaretsoa L.
First
;
Cascella A.;Valente D.;De Gregorio C.;Torti V.;Norscia I.;Friard O.;Giacoma C.
Co-last
;
Gamba M.
Co-last
2022-01-01

Abstract

In mammals, olfactory communication plays an essential role in territorial and mating dynamics. Scent depositions in various species, including lemurs, can be placed via marking or overmarking (marking over previous depositions). We focused on the role that marking and overmarking play in territorial defence and intrasexual competition. We investigated these aspects in diademed sifaka (Propithecus diadema) in the primary rainforest of Maromizaha (eastern Madagascar). We collected scent marking data for five groups from April to November 2018 and from May to December 2019. We aimed to understand whether the lemurs deposited scent marks homogeneously across the home range and whether sex, rank, and occurrence of intergroup encounters affected the lemur’s deposition rate. We also asked whether males overmarked adult females more often than other depositions, and the marking and overmarking rates changed between the migration and non-migration seasons. We found that scent marking was performed higher in peripheral and overlapping areas than in the home range central areas. In addition, males had higher scent marking rates, but intergroup encounters did not affect deposition rates. Males showed higher rates of overmarking and primarily targeted dominant females’ depositions, particularly during the “migration” season (including premating and mating seasons). Our findings suggest a border-marking strategy in Propithecus diadema. More frequent scent marking in the “migration” season suggests intrasexual competition in males. Our results suggest that marking is associated with territorial and resource defence, suggesting that it plays a role in monopolizing females using a mate-guarding strategy and may also serve for males’ self-advertisement to females and subordinate depositors.
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https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10764-022-00292-0#citeas
Intraspecific communication; Lemurs; Olfactory signals; Ranging patterns; Territorial defence
Miaretsoa L.; Cascella A.; Vadala L.; Valente D.; De Gregorio C.; Torti V.; Norscia I.; Ratsimbazafy J.; Friard O.; Giacoma C.; Gamba M.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2318/1858575
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