Spineless monkey orange tree (Strychnos madagascariensis) tree hole hosting a Daraina sportive lemur (Lepilemur milanoii)

The value of the spineless monkey orange tree (Strychnos madagascariensis) for conservation of northern sportive lemurs (Lepilemur milanoii and L. ankaranensis)

Jordi Salmona, Matthew Banks, Tantely Nirina Ralantoharijaona, Emmanuel Rasolondraibe, Radavison Zaranaina, Ando Rakotonanahary, Sébastien Wohlhauser, Brent J. Sewall, Lounès Chikhi

Abstract


Tree hollows provide shelters for a large number of forest-dependent vertebrate species worldwide. In Madagascar, where high historical and ongoing rates of deforestation and forest degradation are responsible for a major environmental crisis, reduced availability of tree hollows may lead to declines in hollow-dwelling species such as sportive lemurs, one of the most species-rich groups of lemurs. The identification of native tree species used by hollow-dwelling lemurs may facilitate targeted management interventions to maintain or improve habitat quality for these lemurs. During an extensive survey of sportive lemurs in northern Madagascar, we identified one tree species, Strychnos madagascariensis (Loganiaceae), the spineless monkey orange tree, as a principal sleeping site of two species of northern sportive lemurs, Lepilemur ankaranensis and L. milanoii (Lepilemuridae). This tree species represented 32.5% (n=150) of the 458 sleeping sites recorded. This result suggests that S. madagascariensis may be valuable for the conservation of hollow-dwelling lemurs.

 

Résumé

De nombreux vertébrés forestiers à travers le monde trouvent refuge dans des cavités et des trous d’arbres. À Madagascar, les taux de déforestation historiques et actuels sont responsables d’une crise environnementale majeure. Dans ce contexte, une disponibilité réduite d’arbres pourvus de cavités pourrait entrainer le déclin des espèces dépendant de ces abris comme par exemple les lépilemurs, un des groupes de lémuriens les plus riches en espèces. L’identification des espèces d’arbres indigènes creusés de trous et utilisés par les lémuriens pourrait faciliter la mise en place d’actions de conservation ayant pour but de maintenir ou améliorer l’habitat de ces lémuriens. Au cours d’une étude réalisée dans le Nord de Madagascar, nous avons observé que Strychnos madagascariensis (Loganiaceae) était fréquemment utilisé comme site dortoir par les deux espèces de lépilemurs présentes, Lepilemur ankaranensis and L. milanoii (Lepilemuridae). Cette espèce d’arbre concernait 32,5% (n = 150) des 458 sites dortoirs enregistrés. Ce résultat suggère que S. madagascariensis pourrait être important pour la conservation des lémuriens dépendant de sites dortoirs.


Keywords


Strychnos madagascariensis; tree hole; sleeping site; sportive lemur; Lepilemur milanoii; Lepilemur ankaranensis; spineless monkey orange tree; tree cavity

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Madag. conserv. dev.
ISSN: 1662-2510