An Explorative Study of Lemur Fitness in Relation to Litter Size, or "A Lack Thereof"
AbstractThe purpose of this research was to examine the effectiveness of Lackâ€™s optimal clutch model in the prediction of optimal litter size across 14 species within superfamily Lemuroidea. All raw data were obtained from the Duke Lemur Centerâ€™s (DLC) Life History and Weight data tables, which contained information for individuals from 27 species from suborder Strepsirrhini. Members of family Lorisidae and Galagidae, along with hybrids from genus Eulemur and Varecia were removed from calculations, along with any species for which data was collected on less than ten individuals. 690 individuals across the 14 species included in the study had usable data on weight and life history, and a total of 1899 individuals had usable life history data. Body weight and survival to adulthood were used as the primary fitness indicators within the study. In examining the relationship between litter size and adult body weight, it was found that Lackâ€™s model was inappropriate as a stand-alone indicator of lifetime fitness. Instead, a variety of correlations between individual and community life-history variables were shown to affect fitness. These varied based on success rates of each sex below, at, and above species specific mean litter sizes, as well as differing by variation in size and coloration by sex. Due to the limited nature of the study, the lack of comparisons to wild populations, and the small number of individuals included in the study, additional research is needed to confirm and further-examine the significance of the results found in the current study.
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