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Sleep patterns, daytime predation, and the evolution of diurnal sleep site selection in lorisiforms

Svensson, MS and Nekaris, KAI and Bearder, SK and Bettridge, CM and Butynski, TM and Cheyne, SM and Das, N and de Jong, YA and Luhrs, AM and Luncz, LV and Maddock, ST and Perkin, A and Pimley, E and Poindexter, SA and Reinhardt, KD and Spaan, D and Stark, DJ and Starr, CR and Nijman, V (2018) Sleep patterns, daytime predation, and the evolution of diurnal sleep site selection in lorisiforms. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 166 (3). pp. 563-577. ISSN 0002-9483


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© 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Objectives: Synthesize information on sleep patterns, sleep site use, and daytime predation at sleep sites in lorisiforms of Asia and Africa (10 genera, 36 species), and infer patterns of evolution of sleep site selection. Materials and methods: We conducted fieldwork in 12 African and six Asian countries, collecting data on sleep sites, timing of sleep and predation during daytime. We obtained additional information from literature and through correspondence. Using a phylogenetic approach, we established ancestral states of sleep site selection in lorisiforms and traced their evolution. Results: The ancestral lorisiform was a fur-clinger and used dense tangles and branches/forks as sleep sites. Use of tree holes and nests as sleep sites emerged ∼22 Mya (range 17–26 Mya) in Africa, and use of bamboo emerged ∼11 (7–14) Mya in Asia and later in Africa. Fur clinging and some sleep sites (e.g., tree holes, nests, but not bamboo or dense tangles) show strong phylogenetic signal. Nests are used by Galagoides, Paragalago, Galago and Otolemur; tree holes by Galago, Paragalago, Sciurocheirus and Perodicticus; tangles by Nycticebus, Loris, Galagoides, Galago, Euoticus, Otolemur, Perodicticus and Arctocebus; all but Sciurocheirus and Otolemur additionally sleep on branches/forks. Daytime predation may affect sleep site selection and sleep patterns in some species of Nycticebus, Galago, Galagoides, Otolemur and Perodicticus. Most lorisiforms enter their sleep sites around sunrise and leave around sunset; several are active during twilight or, briefly, during daytime. Conclusion: Variations in sleep behavior, sleep patterns and vulnerability to daytime predation provide a window into the variation that was present in sleep in early primates. Overall, lorisiforms use the daytime for sleeping and no species can be classified as cathemeral or polycyclic.

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