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Am J Primatol. 2005 Aug;66(4):317-30.

Social organization of the Milne-Edward's potto.

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  • 1Subdepartment of Animal Behaviour, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom.


Nocturnal prosimian primates are often seen alone during their nocturnal activities, and are therefore categorized as "solitary". Recent research has shown that these animals actually possess social networks that differ among species. Here we present new information on one of the lesser studied prosimian primates, the potto, derived from fieldwork in Cameroon that employed radiotelemetry and behavioral observations. An analysis of association patterns and home-range overlaps between animals revealed that pottos associated more frequently with conspecifics than expected for a supposedly solitary primate. Certain males and females that were seen together regularly throughout the study, but were not observed to have contact with other pottos of the opposite sex, were labeled as "pairs". These pairs were found to have higher levels of association with each other than with other conspecifics. The only affiliative and sexual behaviors observed between members of the opposite sex occurred within the pairs of pottos. Although given the secretive nature of these primates, the possibility of extrapair copulations cannot be ruled out, their relatively small testis size indicates that sperm competition is not so important for this species.

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