Female infanticide and female-directed lethal targeted aggression in a group of ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta)
- 1Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology Unit, German Primate Center, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
- 2Erlebnispark Affenwald, 99706 Straußberg, Germany
Abstract. We report on extremely rare events of lethal aggression in a semi-captive group of ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) during the birth season 2014. This aggression was targeted against the two highest-ranking females. It led to their eviction from the group and following a final aggressive interaction four days later to their deaths caused by almost all the females and probably even two males of their former group. These events of targeted aggression erupted initially following an infanticide by the highest-ranking female directed at the offspring of a subordinate. Even for ring-tailed lemurs this is a very special case of changeover of power between two different matrilines in a group. In accordance with other studies we suggest that these events of targeted aggression were based on the growing group size and were acts of female reproductive competition during birth season. With the intensity of the events we add new aspects to the existing knowledge of aggressive interactions in ring-tailed lemurs.