Differences in Bold Personality Traits Between Captive Male and Female Coquerel’s Sifakas (Propithecus coquereli)

Elaina Savage, Dr. Lisa Paciulli, and Dr. Jennifer Verdolin, Department of Biological Sciences, North Carolina State University, 2200 Hillsborough St., Raleigh, NC 27607

Personality is the sum of characteristics that describe and account for temporally stable patterns of affect, cognition, and behavior. Boldness, curiosity, and inquisition are types of personalities in humans and non-human animals. Males and females may exhibit different personalities because females are often busy investing in reproductive and maternal behaviors. In this study, sex differences in bold personality traits were examined in captive Coquerel’s sifakas (Propithecus coquereli). It was hypothesized that male sifakas would be more bold than females because females have been selected to focus on maternal behaviors. A group of two male and two female Duke Lemur Center Coquerel’s sifakas were video-recorded for three hours over a three-week period. Two-and-a-half-minute instantaneous focal animal sampling was used to code behaviors from the video, such as acting dominant or submissive (eating first or later), inquisitive or non-inquisitive (exploring or not exploring a novel object), and curious or non-curious (looking at other lemur groups or not looking at them). After, dominant, inquisitive, and curious behaviors were categorized as “bold,” while submissive, non-inquisitive, and non-curious behaviors were categorized as “shy.” The results showed that the males displayed more bold behaviors than females, which supported the hypothesis. However, because the sample size was so small and the lemurs’ ages were similar, the results should be considered tentative. Future research should include longer observations of several groups of sifakas containing various ages of each sex, and studying female personality before, during, and after gestation and lactation.

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Elaina Savage

Institution: NC State University

Type: Poster

Subject: Ecology

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 5
Date/Time: Tue 12:30pm-1:30pm
Session Number: 4087