Morphological variation in populations of Eulemur albocollaris and E. fulvus rufus

Steig E. Johnson, Adam D. Gordon, Rebecca M. Stumpf, Deborah J. Overdorff, Patricia C. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sexual dimorphism in body size and canine weaponry is commonly associated with high levels of male-male competition. When group living species do not rely heavily on male-male competition for access to females, sperm competition may represent a viable alternative strategy. Unlike most haplorhine primates, lemurs are typically monomorphic in body weight and canine height. We assessed variability of body mass dimorphism and canine size dimorphism in brown lemurs using morphometric data from 3 populations in southeastern Madagascar: Eulemur fulvus rufus, E. albocollaris, and hybrids of the species. We found significant male-biased canine dimorphism in E. albocollaris in conjunction with body-size monomorphism. We observed similar patterns in the hybrids, but E. fulvus rufus exhibited significant female-biased size dimorphism and canine monomorphism. Testes volume was relatively high across study populations. Thus, sperm competition appears to be strong in brown lemurs. E. albocollaris males combine sperm competition with large canines, but not higher body mass, indicating a difference in sexual strategy from most lemurs. Patterns of body mass and canine size dimorphism are not uniform across brown lemur populations, indicating that future work on these populations can explicitly test models that predict relationships between size dimorphism and various types of competition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1399-1416
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Primatology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2005


  • Eulemur albocollaris
  • Eulemur fulvus
  • Intrasexual competition
  • Sexual dimorphism
  • Sperm competition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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