Lemur Social Structure

Lemur Social Behavior

The social structure of the Lemur is very interesting. They live in small groups that move around with each other. These family groups have females that are dominate over the males. It can be very difficult to tell the difference between the males and the females.

They have the same physical characteristics and they are the same size. The Lemur is one group of primates where the female has domination over the males. It is also the only one where the males and females aren’t significantly different in size. Typically the female primates are distinctly smaller.

They take part in social grooming which is a big part of them feeling like they belong to the family. In fact you can learn a great deal about who the leaders are in any Lemur family based on the order in which grooming is done.

Lemur social behavior
Sifaka family

They develop very close bonds in their social structure and a close knit family. They are able to show various emotions that are interesting to observe. They seem to mourn the loss of the young and other members. They also known to fight among their own families and with other families.

The communication methods of the Lemur are interesting. They also result in them having particular types of lingo that are specific to a given family. There are many sounds that the Lemur engages in but that we haven’t been able to successful decipher.

Most of the time for the Lemur is spent in the trees. However, some of them including the Ring Tailed Lemur do spend time on land. The smaller species seem to be the ones that stay in the trees for protection. Some of these smaller species are isolated too and they don’t have a family that they belong to. Yet they seem to thrive just the same.

The physical communication in a family of Lemurs is very interesting to observe. For example they can be seeing sitting or hunching over. Many times they appear to be very deep in thought. They do listen well to their surroundings and will retreat at any signs or sounds of danger that they identify.

The sharing of nests and food is very common among Lemur groups. This can change though when food is in short supply. Then they may turn on each other and by out for the survival of the fittest.

Social structure of the Lemur
Ring-tailed lemur plot

The average size of a Lemur family is up to 15 members. It may be larger though if they live in a location where food is plentiful around the year. For those that live in areas that go through cycles though they tend to have a more limited number for their own overall survival to be in place.

There have been groups of only male Lemurs known to exist out there. This type of social structure is very peculiar. However, it is hard to know for sure just how many of them exist due to the fact that they look so similar to the females. Yet more and more of them continue to be identified all the time.

One of the things that still fascinates researchers about the social structure of the Lemur has to do with their communications. There isn’t’ enough known though about why certain sounds are used more than others. They do their best to alert others to when there are dangers around them though.

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