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Am J Phys Anthropol. 2005 Mar;126(3):318-28.

Ecogeographic size variations in Sifakas: a test of the resource seasonality and resource quality hypotheses.

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Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G3, Canada.


Ecogeographic size variations have been documented in some but not all sifakas. Few morphometric or body weight data have been available for two critically endangered subspecies of diademed sifakas: Perrier's sifakas (Propithecus diadema perrieri) and silky sifakas (Propithecus diadema candidus). The objectives of our study were to determine size variations in sifakas and if these variations are related to resource quality and/or resource seasonality. P. d. perrieri and P. d. candidus were captured, weighed, and measured in northern Madagascar. Body weights and morphometrics were compared with other subspecies of diademed sifakas and indris (Indri indri). Differences in body weights and morphometrics between taxa are particularly pronounced for P. d. perrieri compared to P. d. diadema, P. d. edwardsi, and I. indri. Most morphometrics varied in comparisons between P. d. candidus and the other Indriidae (P. d. diadema, P. d. edwardsi, and I. indri). Average body size in sifakas is positively correlated with annual rainfall and negatively correlated with length of dry season. Sifaka body size is not correlated with protein-to-fiber ratios. Thus, size variations in sifakas are related to resource seasonality rather than resource quality. The relationships between the temporal availability of food resources and sifaka body size reflect complex and regionally varying causalities. Detailed, longitudinal information on the ecological factors underlying food selection and nutrient requirements in sifakas are needed to determine the relationship between ecogeographic variables and body size in sifakas.

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