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Ecology and behaviour of nocturnal primates Prosimians of equatorial West Africa. By Pierre Charles-Dominique. Columbia University Press New York 1977. + 277 pp. figures tables bibliography index. $17

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species are represented by only two or three benefit from the degree of textual detail prospecimens for a particular tooth. When sam- vided for many species.
ple sizes were large enough, hypotheses of
Much of the sparse dietery information
equality of means between sexes were tested relies on secondary sources and is out of date.
using a small sample t-test statistic. Signifi- In fact, the entire bibliography could benefit
cant degrees of sexual dimorphism are indi- from an update since only seven out of the 148
cated in the male tables by an asterisk, and citations postdate 1973. Swindler’s exhausthe degree of significance is also noted. Final- tive and precise description of dental morly, there is a bibliography of 148 references phology is obviously very valuable in itself,
followed by a taxonomic index.
but additional discussion of the significance
Swindler has compiled an enormous wealth of these features for food processing would
of information and observation into what is have added a new dimension to this volume.
essentially a reference text. Potentially, one None of this constructive criticism is intended
of the most useful aspects of this volume is to diminish the significance or utility of this
the extensive odontometric appendix. For ex- important contribution. Swindler himself
ample, dental dimensions could be compared notes that in many ways this work is an into body weight data from other sources in terim report on a field of research that conorder to investigate the relationship between tinues t o grow a t an astonishing rate:
tooth size and body size. Data on molar size
“One thing is patently clear from the present work:
many more detailed and systematic investigations of
progression or relative canine size can be exadequate samples of each species (even subspecies) are
tracted in short order. With the numerous starequired before the true nature of the primate dentitistical tests of sexual dimorphism in tooth dition becomes known. It is hoped that this reference
mensions, one can evaluate the explanatory
book will provide the necessary background and stimulation for these studies” (p. vii).
power of one’s favorite theoretical model sexual selection, differential niche utilizaWILLIAM L. J U N G E R S
tion, antipredator strategy, or whatever (acUniversity of Illinois,
counting for the differences documented here
among Cercopithecus or Presbytis species
would be challenging starting points).
One of the more disappointing aspects of James, W. W. 1960 The Jaws and Teeth of Primates.
Pitman Medical, London.
the volume is the uneven and generally poor Napier,
J. R., and P . H. Napier 1967 A Handbook of Living
quality of the numerous occlusal illustrations.
Primates. Academic Press. London.
The smaller species have suffered in particular; the renderings of some of the prosimians
are virtually abstract in appearance (e.g.,
Auahi, Arctocebus). Certain larger forms such
as Theropithecus and Nasalis concolor do not ECOLOGY
PRIfare much better. The plate of Rhinopzthecus
roxellanae is especially confusing since the
AFRICA.By Pierre Charles-Dominique. Colmaxillary teeth appear unworn while their
University Press, New York. 1977.
mandibular counterparts exhibit marked denx
pp., figures, tables, bibliography,
tal attrition, and this discrepancy is not
index. $17.50 (cloth).
pointed out in the figure legend. One of the
more serious consequences of this type of defiThe title of this book is perhaps a bit misciency, especially for beginning students, is
that unless one is already thoroughly familiar leading since it is not a general comparison of
with the details of crown morphology of a the ecology and behavior of all nocturnal prigiven species (or has good casts of its denti- mates. It is, however, a detailed report of an
tion on hand for direct comparison), i t is ex- excellent study of five sympatric species of
tremely difficult to follow and digest the de- lorisid, focusing mainly on naturally living
tailed description of these features. Sharper populations in Gabon, West Africa. The five
occlusal line drawings, a three -quarters view species are the two African lorisines, Perodicof each dentition, plus an illustration (lateral ticus potto and Arctocebus calabarensis, and
aspect) of the uppers and lowers in occlusion three galagines, Galago demidouii, Galago
would all be highly desirable, if not absolutely alleni, and Euoticus elegantulus.
This is the most detailed long-term study of
necessary, in order to fully appreciate and
any nocturnal prosimian. The portion of the
field study described in the book was conducted between October 1965 and July 1973,
covering a total of 42 months. Data are presented on the following subjects: diet, locomotion and defensive behavior, activity patterns
and sleeping sites, population dynamics, and
social behavior. Each section contains a discussion of the methods used in data collection.
Charles-Dominique illustrates how each of
these species utilizes different resources in an
equatorial rain forest with a diversity of
biotopes. The potto and Demidoff s bushbaby
mainly utilize the canopy, while the angiwantibo (Arctocebus calabarensis) and Allen’s
bushbaby occupy the undergrowth of the
forest. The needle-clawed bushbaby (Euoticus
elegantulus) uses its clawed digits to move
along large highway branches in the canopy.
The quick galagos prey on fast moving insects,
whereas the lorises are exclusively slow climbers that utilize slow moving, often noxious
prey. These prey are usually not hunted by
other mammals and are thus relatively abundant. The smaller species of each subfamily,
G. demidouii and A . calabarensis, are highly
insectivorous, stomach contents containing 70
and 85% insects by weight. The potto and
Allen’s bushbaby are highly frugivorous, but
each feeds in different strata of the forest. The
needle-clawed galago eats mainly gum. Competition for resources is further decreased by
species of the same subfamily utilizing different biotopes and strata of the forest and
thus using different types of insect prey.
The slow moving locomotion of the lorises
necessitates a very specialized defensive behavior. This includes cryptic locomotion and
concealment in both species but slightly different defense postures and methods of direct
attack. The potto faces the predator with its
head beneath its arms and thrusts its body forward, using a “scapular shield” to butt the a t tacker. The angiwantibo, on the other hand,
faces away from an adversary showing only its
conspicuous tail. If the loris is touched anywhere a t the rear of the body, one arm is lifted
and the predator is given a good bite on the
The ecological and behavioral studies, along
with the corresponding laboratory research,
present the reader with an understanding of
the total adaptive complex of each of the species. As stated by Charles-Dominique, “Each
animal species exploits a precisely determined
spectrum of dietary resources in a well-de-
fined biotope, and it was therefore possible to
establish t h e ecological parameters upon
which each lorisid species depends. The level
of the forest exploited, the nature of the supports used, and the food resources which are
sought after, are all associated with morphological and behavioral adaptations which
would remain enigmatic without a detailed
knowledge of the ecological peculiarities of
each species” (p. 2 5 5 ) .
Charles-Dominique studied the social organization of three of the species, Galago
demidouii, G. alleni and Perodicticus potto, in
some detail. In a number of features there is a
great degree of similarity between all three
species. For example, female ranges are small
and overlap to a variable degree. Male ranges
are usually larger and scarcely overlap with
one another, although they overlap with one
or more of the female home ranges. This general arrangement has also been found in a
number of other nocturnal prosimians (e.g.,
Microcebus murinus, Lepilenur nustelinus,
Galago senegalensis and Tarsius bancanus)
and in a number of other nocturnal mammals.
Charles-Dominique believes that this basic
social pattern may have been a primitive feature of the placental mammals.
In each section of the book, there is a
detailed discussion of the methods used to collect data. This will be very useful to students
and those interested in doing field research on
nocturnal species. My major criticism of the
methods used in this study relates to the fact
t h a t dietary data were derived solely from the
stomach contents of 174 animals killed by the
author. This is neither a desirable nor necessary means of collecting data on diet and
nutrition. In order to obtain sufficiently large
samples to determine daily, monthy, seasonal,
population and individual variations in diet,
an inordinate number of animals would have
to be sacrificed and these, of course, could not
be restudied.
Many of the data presented in this book
have appeared previously in separate articles,
most of which are published in French. However, this is the first compilation of all of this
material and the first time that most of it is
available in English. (The English translation
by R. D. Martin is exceptional.) It is an excellent book which describes, for the most part,
a n elegant study.
Washington University,
st. L O U l S
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figuren, west, university, dominique, charles, index, equatorial, bibliography, new, 1977, 277, york, behaviour, primate, africa, pierre, nocturnal, columbia, tablet, prosimian, pres, ecology
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