Eco-evo-devo of the lemur syndrome: did adaptive behavioral plasticity get canalized in a large primate radiation?
The removal, or absence, of predatory species could be a contributing proximate factor to the rise of primate cathemerality. But predators themselves can also be cathemeral, so cathemerality could well be an evolutionary stable strategy. From a comparative perspective, it appears that the effect of predatory species cannot provide a unitary explanation for cathemerality. Varying distributions and population densities of predators, especially raptors, may be key factors in owl monkey (Aotus) cathemerality, but temperature and lunar cycle variation have also been implicated. In Madagascar, while raptors are potential predators of lemur species, the cathemerality of Eulemur species coincides with that of the fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox), a major predatory threat to lemurs. Thus, lemurid cathemerality may be more parsimoniously explained as an evolutionary stable strategy.