My ruffed lemur (Varecia spp.) color vision research was conducted at Duke Lemur Center in Durham, North Carolina, USA. We trained lemurs to use a cognitive touchscreen apparatus to show us if they can differentiate red from green.
This touchscreen apparatus, aptly named SMARTA for Subject-Mediated Automatic Remote Testing Apparatus was designed to train and test ruffed lemurs using two-choice discrimination tasks. We also collected blood samples and genotyped them at Primate Molecular Ecology Lab (PMEL) at Hunter College of The City University of New York to confirm their color vision genotypes.
In addition, we are looking to answer whether SMARTA can be a positive reinforcer and can be used to promote good welfare by giving the lemurs a choice: get food for free or working for it.
Lastly, we are also analyzing the hand preference of these lemurs when performing cognitive tasks to better understand laterality in ruffed lemurs.
Photo by David Haring (Duke Lemur Center)
Photo by Raymond Vagell