LEMURS – Springtime

Right now it’s springtime on the East African island of Madagascar, the only place in the world where you can find lemurs — those small, sedate primates which look like a mix of monkey, raccoon and squirrel. Spring is when young adult lemurs begin to leave their families and start out on their own. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

“It’s October and the young adult lemurs, both the males and the females, start listening a little harder in the forest to the other lemur sounds because it’s the time of year when there’s group exchange.”

Patricia Wright is a Professor of Anthropology at the State University of New York in Stony Brook.

“The reason why they give this call is perhaps because they are signaling where they are and they’re signaling who’s in their group. And if it sounds like there’s many males in a group, they might not go in the direction, if they’re an adult male. But if there’s no males in the group then they’ll head out, right away, to visit. But very often during the month of October, they’ll visit many groups. And suddenly they’ll be gone from their home territory for three hours, five hours, sometimes overnight; and then they come back. But by the end of October, and into November, they have a pretty good idea of where they want to switch to and they’ve been testing the waters and so suddenly, boom, they’re gone, and they’ve joined another group and we’ll see them in that group, maybe for ten, twelve years. It depends how they like it there.”

For transcripts of this and other programs in our series, please visit our web site at www.pulseplanet.com.

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. Additional funding for this series has been provided by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

LEMURS - Springtime

October is springtime in Madagascar, the time of year when young lemurs begin to start out on their own.
Air Date:10/07/1998
Scientist:
Transcript:

Right now it's springtime on the East African island of Madagascar, the only place in the world where you can find lemurs -- those small, sedate primates which look like a mix of monkey, raccoon and squirrel. Spring is when young adult lemurs begin to leave their families and start out on their own. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

"It's October and the young adult lemurs, both the males and the females, start listening a little harder in the forest to the other lemur sounds because it's the time of year when there's group exchange."

Patricia Wright is a Professor of Anthropology at the State University of New York in Stony Brook.

"The reason why they give this call is perhaps because they are signaling where they are and they're signaling who's in their group. And if it sounds like there's many males in a group, they might not go in the direction, if they're an adult male. But if there's no males in the group then they'll head out, right away, to visit. But very often during the month of October, they'll visit many groups. And suddenly they'll be gone from their home territory for three hours, five hours, sometimes overnight; and then they come back. But by the end of October, and into November, they have a pretty good idea of where they want to switch to and they've been testing the waters and so suddenly, boom, they're gone, and they've joined another group and we'll see them in that group, maybe for ten, twelve years. It depends how they like it there."

For transcripts of this and other programs in our series, please visit our web site at www.pulseplanet.com.

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. Additional funding for this series has been provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.