Use of Mangroves by Lemurs

7
Jul

Use of Mangroves by Lemurs

Gardner, C (2016) The use of mangroves by lemurs. Int J Primatol. doi:10.1007/s10764-016-9905-1

Highlights

Madagascar’s lemurs are a top global conservation priority, but little is known about their occurrence in mangroves. A mixed-methods approach was used to collect published and unpublished observations of lemurs in mangroves. References or observations of at least 23 species of lemur were found, indicating that mangroves are more widely used by lemurs than has previously been recognized.


Abstract

Despite an increasing recognition of the ecosystem services provided by mangroves, we know little about their role in maintaining terrestrial biodiversity, including primates. Madagascar’s lemurs are a top global conservation priority, with 94 % of species threatened with extinction, but records of their occurrence in mangroves are scarce. I used a mixed-methods approach to collect published and unpublished observations of lemurs in mangroves: I carried out a systematic literature search and supplemented this with a targeted information request to 1243 researchers, conservation and tourism professionals, and others who may have visited mangroves in Madagascar. I found references to, or observations of, at least 23 species in 5 families using mangroves, representing >20% of lemur species and >50% of species whose distributions include mangrove areas. Lemurs used mangroves for foraging, sleeping, and traveling between terrestrial forest patches, and some were observed as much as 3 km from the nearest permanently dry land. However, most records were anecdotal and thus tell us little about lemur ecology in this habitat. Mangroves are more widely used by lemurs than has previously been recognized and merit greater attention from primate researchers and conservationists in Madagascar.



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