Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Anthropology

Content Description

1 online resource (iii, xxvi, 592 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Adam D Gordon

Committee Members

Brenda J Bradley, Julia A Jennings, David S Strait, Suzanne G Strait


color, ecological, eigencoats, lemur, pelage, primate, Lemurs, Protective coloration (Biology), Camouflage (Biology)

Subject Categories

Biological and Physical Anthropology


This dissertation investigates the selective pressures that may be driving variation in pelage color patterns in Eulemur, Varecia, and Propithecus. This is addressed by exploring the relationship between the lemur pelage colors and ecological variables, such as habitat type, predation pressures, visibility variables, and level of sympatry. The following model is presented here to describe the evolutionary mechanisms that are thought to be maintaining pelage coloration in lemurs: Pelage color and pattern are potentially used to (1) signal to conspecifics information such as mate quality, (2) signal to congenerics species identity, and (3) avoid signaling the individual’s presence to predators. This model is explored using the Eigencoats methodology, which quantifies color variation in primate pelage. Additional variables such as light levels, visual system of the receiver, and the visual background are also believed to affect pelage coloration and are examined here, as well.