Madagascar lemur families
Lemurs are arboreal primates that live only in Madagascar, with the exception of two species recently introduced to the Comoros.
General description of lemurs from Madagascar
Their ancestors probably reached the Big Island from Africa about 25 million years ago. In this Jungle paradise, long isolated and then very rich, they encountered little competition in many species as they expanded their territory and multiplied.
Some remained at night or dusk, while others, gaining in size, took on a daytime life. Madagascar was also the cradle of large species that became extinct more than 1,000 to 3,000 years ago, probably after the arrival of the first human populations.
Lemurs have large eyes whose reflective "carpet" behind the retina gives them better night vision. No bony partitions protect the sides of the eye sockets. The lemurs' skulls are also less solid than those of monkeys, which have the same origin.
Adaptation to the different biotopes
With the appearance of larger day types, vision became a primary function.
Indeed, precision of movement is critical for these arboreal animals that move erratically.
The fur of the lemurs
The fur of the lemurs is quite dense, sometimes woolly. That of the small species is dark, while that of the largest species is of different colors, sometimes white, which gives them better protection against the sun's rays.
Brief description of the different species of lemurs
We distinguish the small and the large cheirogale, the size of a small rodent and a squirrel, respectively.
The Chirogales have less elongated limbs than the Makis (Lemuridae), which gives them the appearance of rodents like rats. The head is more or less rounded and the ears are medium or small. The tail, cylindrical and well furnished with hairs, is about half the total length.
The eyes are large, round and directed forward, as in cats.
The extremities, shaped like hands, have an opposable thumb with a flattened nail; the other fingers have flat nails, except for the second toe, which is muffled and not clawed, as in the makis. The fur is abundant, reddish or gray colored with reddish highlights and a whitish underside: the interocular spaces are generally white and the nose blackish, more or less pronounced depending on the species.
As in most lemurs, the dentition consists of four incisors above and below and six pairs of molars on each jaw, finally two pairs of canines, generally more developed above than below.
These small primates are essentially nocturnal and live in trees where they hunt insects, but also feed on almonds and fruits.
They all live only in Madagascar.
Cheirogales, which are nocturnal and discrete, are usually frugivorous and lapse into lethargy at the end of summer. After the formation of fat reserves.
These nocturnal leaf-eating lemurs are very discreet and relatively vulnerable to predation.
You live in small family groups and disperse by making large jumps at the slightest alarm. During the day they stay curled up in a ball in the foliage.
The Wollmaki or Eastern wool maki (Avahi laniger), lives in the tropical rainforests of eastern Madagascar at low altitude (the majority is in the northern part).
They belong to the genus Avahi, the family Indridae.
The species is classified as vulnerable. In fact, the population is in decline, habitat destruction and hunting are the main causes, although hunting is weak in some places. The highest concentration of Avahi laniger is found in the Analamazaotra Special Reserve. And the highest hunting-related mortality rate is in the Makira Forest to be recorded.
Note that the Avahi occidentalis, which is very similar to the wool avahi but slightly smaller, long considered a subspecies (Avahi laniger occidentalis) of the Avahi laniger was considered and is still discussed in the scientific community. The Avahi occidentalis lives in the tropical rainforests of northwestern Madagascar. Therefore, some documents still assume that the Avahi laniger laniger had two subspecies, the second of which is the Avahi laniger laniger.
It is strictly nocturnal and has strong incisors with continuous growth. Its very broad Auricular ears enable it to detect larvae in tree trunks, which it collects with its long, flexible third finger. This species was found in 1956, when it was thought to be extinct. It is the subject of special protection.
The aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) is a long-fingered lemur, a primate native to Madagascar with rodent-like teeth that constantly grow back and a particularly thin middle finger.
It is the largest nocturnal primate in the world.
It is distinguished by its unusual method of foraging: It knocks on trees to find grubs, then gnaws holes in the wood with its forward-slanting incisors to create a small hole into which it inserts its slender middle finger to pull out the grubs.
This type of foraging is called percussive foraging and takes up 41% of the foraging time. From an ecological standpoint, the aye-aye fills the niche of a woodpecker because it is able to penetrate the wood to extract the invertebrates that live within.
The Aye-aye is the only surviving member of the Genus Daubentonia and the family Daubentoniidae.
They are currently classified as endangered by the IUCN; and a second species, Daubentonia robusta, seems to have died out sometime within the last 1000 years.
They are comparable in size to the lemur catta and differ from it in their genetic formula, darker fur, and lifestyle. They are diurnal or crepuscular. All eular lemurs carry their young clinging to their fur from birth. There are five species, the most diverse of which is the Eulemur fulvus (five subspecies).
The Eulemur Fulvus Fulvus, which belongs to the Lemuridae family of the genus Eulemur, is the only subspecies of Eulemur Fulvus that does not exhibit marked sexual dimorphism. In the northwestern part of its range, it is distinguished from the Eulemur mongoose by its uniform brown coloration on the back, while the belly is paler and slightly grayish.
In the eastern part it is confused with Eulemur rubraventer, the latter has a reddish coloration.
The Owl Mur Fulvus Fulvus has a short but dense coat and a long, slightly bushy tail at the tip. The eyes are red-orange. They growl, and easily make themselves known in the forest.
This medium-sized lemur measures between 85 and 100 cm and weighs between 2 and 3 kg.
Brown lemurs are found in both mid-elevation moist tropical forests and dry deciduous forests.
It can be said that it is one of the most widespread and abundant species in Madagascar, as they can adapt well to the environment in which they live, even in captivity.
Their diet is varied, it includes leaves, young shoots, flowers and fruits.
In some areas of the East, the Owl Mur Fulvus Fulvus may feed in flower, pine, and eucalypt plantations.
Brown lemurs usually live in groups of 3 to 12 individuals. There are several adult males and females in the group, with sub-adults, adolescents and juveniles in the early stages.
They have no perceptible hierarchy of dominance. Often some activity can be detected after dark, probably depending on the lunar cycle.
Mating occurs in May and June, and after a gestation period of about 120 days, births occur in September and October, at the beginning of the rainy season.
Normally there is only one young per litter.
The young are weaned at 4 to 5 months and reach sexual maturity at about 18 months. Generally, communication in lemurs is vocal or gestural, but also by marking. The latter consists of leaving an olfactory imprint on plants through glands located on certain parts of the body.
However, it is noted that an odor emitted by this subspecies is stronger than the odor emitted by other lemurs.
It is so strong that even humans are able to smell it. Ano-genital marking is still the most frequently observed behavior.
The life expectancy of this species in the wild can exceed 20 years. However, the Owl Mur Fulvus Fulvus is still threatened by hunting and habitat destruction.
Nocturnal, they consume insects, small vertebrates, and fruits and spend the day in tree cavities or nests. Two subspecies, the Gray mouse maki and the Red mouse maki, belong to the smallest Malagasy lemurs. In contrast to the latter, the Coquerel's Microcephalus (subspecies three times as large, sometimes called Mirza) do not accumulate fat reserves to spend the winter in lethargy.
Three new species of lemurs of the genus Mausemaki were discovered between 2013 and 2016.
Three new species of lemurs, more specifically mouse lemurs, were described in early 2016. With these three species, the number of species of small lemurs increases to 24.
The Whole horned mousemaki or Microcebus ganzhorni, was discovered in 2016 in southwestern Madagascar, it is one of the last species of the family described in 2016....
The Microcebus ganzhorni belongs to the family of the Cheirogalidae and to the genus Microcebus (Mausemaki or Mouse Lemur). Mausemaki are very small lemurs, most of them have the size of a hamster.
The Microcebus ganzhorni has been Professor Jörg Ganzhorn from Duke Lemur Center who led the project.
Mouse macaws from Mrs Berthe
Mrs. Berthe's mouse macaws are very small. A male measures only about 9 cm with a weight of about 30 g. Females are sometimes larger than males.
They have a bicolor dorsal coat, in which cinnamon and yellow ocher are mixed. In the belly zone black and light gray are mixed. The tail, crown and ears are yellow-brown. The limbs are darker.
The Microcebus boraha is one of the last species of the family, discovered and described in 2016.
Microcebus boraha belongs to the family Cheirogalidae and the genus Microcebus (mouse macaws).
The cute mouse macaws were found in the southern part of the Sainte-Marie Island discovered
Note that the word "Boraha" is the other name of the Sainte Marie Island is.
Microcebus manitatra belongs to the Cheirogalidae family and to the genus Microcebus (Mauslemur). The species was described in 2016, together with Microcebus wholehorni and Microcebus boraha. It was discovered in the southeastern part of Madagascar.
The golden hapalemur was found in 1987 in a wet forest around Ranomafana (southeast) discovered, where it appears to be located.
Hapalemurs are the smallest among the diurnal lemurs. Its adult weight is between 700 and 800 g.
The small hapalemurs are characterized by their dark gray fur and monkey facies (flat snout like monkeys).
This species lives in the Rainforests of the East, their natural habitat is bamboo forests, there are thirty-two species of bamboo endemic to Madagascar.
Sometimes they eat soil, in fact they ingest a very high dose of cyanide contained in the base of their diet.
Thus, the soil promotes their digestion, although their metabolism is well adapted to this violent poison.
In groups of two to six, males, females and young live together in perfect harmony. They can live between 20 and 25 years.
As loud as microbes and cheirogales discreet, he makes his cries throughout the night. They feed mainly on resins, which is obtained from tree trunks and insect secretions.
Phaner furcifer has a wide but discontinuous distribution on the island of Madagascar. The majority of the population is found in the coastal forests of northern and western Madagascar.
These lemurs typically occur in the humid forests in the east of Madagascar and in the dry forests of the temperate zones in the west.
They are restricted to areas where gum-producing trees are common and dense. Normally they are found at a height of 3 to 4 meters above the ground, but they have been observed to move along the ground and grow up to 10 meters high.
Head and body length range from 227 to 285 mm, with the tail adding an additional 285 to 370 mm to the total length.
The weight is typically between 300 and 500 g. The fur is reddish gray to brownish gray, with the lightest fur on the neck and head.
Forked lemurs get their name from the characteristic dorsal stripe that splits at the top of the head and continues to the eyes on each side.
Fork-tailed lemurs mate in monogomous pairs. Once a bond is formed between them, the male and female share a tree hole and are found together at any time thereafter.
Bachelor males and male bigamists have been found, but are extremely rare.
Mating system monogamous, details on reproduction of these animals are limited.
Ring tailed lemur - Ring tailed lemur in English. Emblem of Madagascar, the Makis are easily recognized by their black and white ringed tails. When they walk on the ground, they hold it in the air like a question mark.
During games between young, their agility is reminiscent of a cat and they purr when they delouse. Makis live in the dry forests of southern Madagascar.
For a long time, like the Sifakas, they were under the protection of the Antandroy (an ethnic group from the south of Madagascar).
In fact, the Makis hold their arms apart to take the sun, which makes one think of a prayer, unfortunately the loss of traditions and the destruction of the forests threaten the species.
The Maki catta (Lemur catta) belongs to the family Lemuridae and is a genus in its own right: the genus Lemur.
The makis are the best known lemurs, mainly because of their diurnal habits, their black and white ringed tail (14 black stripes and 14 white stripes) and easy access to the regions where they live.
The makis are semi-arboreal and readily settle on land. They live in the tropical dry forests, gallery forests or thorny forests of the southern, southwestern and southeastern parts of Madagascar.
It can be said that they are omnivorous. They live in groups of 3 to 20 individuals, consisting of as many males as females.
Females remain in the groups in which they were born and dominate the males. Competition for dominance is very common among females, even between different groups.
The mating season begins in mid-April, and the birth of the young takes place in September (about 135 days of gestation).
Females are fertile from the age of three and have one litter per year, one baby per litter.
From the fifteenth day after birth, the young cling to the mother's back and are then transferred to the backs of other members of the group.
The mortality rate of young is very high (only 40% reach sexual maturity).
In the wild, makis are vulnerable because of deforestation, hunting, and their natural predators: the FOSA (Cryptoprocta ferox); the Civet cat (Viverricula indica); the Madagascar Terrestrial Boa (Acrantophis dumerili) and finally because of domestic animals such as stray cats and dogs.
In the southeastern region of Madagascar, local ethnic groups consider them their ancestors, which contributes to their preservation.
Lemurs are part of our wealth and heritage, so it is up to us to protect them by being aware of their inestimable value.
Catta lemurs live in groups (up to 30 individuals). Like the red-breasted lemurs, they carry their young clinging to their fur. Their sound register is very diverse.
They form a very homogeneous and strictly nocturnal group.
The species, which are very similar, differ mainly in their geological distribution and chromosomal formula, as well as in their size and the shades of their fur.
They move mainly by jumping from torso to torso while maintaining a vertical posture.
During the day they hide in tree holes or among the foliage. The female does not carry her young. She clings to a branch when feeding.
Milne-Edward's lepilemur, Lepilemur edwardsi is also known as weasel lemur or Milne-Edwards' sporting lemur . Milne-Edward is the name of two famous zoologists (fathers and sons) .
The Milne-Edward lemur belongs to the family Lepilemuridae and the genus Lepilemur.
The Milne-Edward's Lepilemur is one of the largest of its family, with an average length of 55 cm (including tail) and a point of about 750 g. Its coat is gray-brown, with lighter spots (head, Belly... ). It is easy to confuse it with the Avahi occidentalis. This animal moves from tree to tree and is able to make impressive jumps, up to more than 3 meters.
The Milne-Edward's Lemur lives in the Dry forests in the west of Madagascar. They are nocturnal and monogamous, although a solitary habit is easily established. It feeds mainly on leaves and flowers and rarely on insects.
The Milne-Edward's Lemur lives in western Madagascar.
The area in which it is located is quite large, but there is a strong concentration in the Boeny region, between the Betsiboka River (south) and the Maevarano River (north), including the Ankarafantsika National Parks, and the Bongolava Massif. But it can also be found further south, for example in Bemaraha.
Vari lemur or "Varecia" lemur
It is almost twice the size of the Red-tailed Vari and lives in the eastern rainforest. The female lays her young at birth in a nest. Its distribution extends from Cap Masoala in the northeast to the Manakara region in the southeast of the island. The Varecia is the largest of the lemurs, after the Indri indri, which is still called "Babakoto" in Madagascar and can reach one meter. It has a magnificent fur, longer and bushier than that of the other lemurs.
The dominant of the group, as with all diurnal lemurs, is always a female.
It is the only species that gives birth to two young, which is very rare in lemurs in general.
In the early hours of the sun, the Varecia settles on the high sunny branches of the forest. Here, too, it stands out from the others for its ability to absorb a maximum of heat.
Instead of spreading its arms apart like other lemurs, the Varecia lies in a sitting position with its arms spread and legs outstretched.
They live in groups of six to eight individuals, sometimes as few as three.
In the latter case, the group then consists of a pair and its offspring.
These large diurnal lemurs live in family groups. They move by jumping in a vertical posture. Their rarity is mainly due to the destruction of the forest.
On the ground, they move on two legs in small jumps with arms spread to ensure their balance.
In the trees they can jump more than six meters.
Their weight is between 3.4 and 4.3 kg. Early in the morning they bask on the high branches of the forest to accumulate maximum heat.
Crowned sifakas are characterized by their white or yellowish coat with a brown patch on the chest and a darker black head. The muzzle is pointed and rounded.
They are found in the dry forests of the western and central-western regions of Madagascar.
They are diurnal and feed mainly on buds, leaves, fruits and flowers.
Like all other sifakas, the crowned ones do not drink water. They drink only the juice of the leaves and the juice of the fruits they eat.
In their natural state, a group of 2 to 8 individuals lives on a territory of 1.2 - 1.5 ha. Feeding and moving are among the most important activities.
The reproductive period occurs at the beginning of the rainy season and gestation lasts between 160 and 162 days, with births occurring between late June and July.
Only one young is suckled by the mother until six months of age.
In case of danger, the crowned sifaka emits a sneezing sound " frrr, frrr ; tuff, tuff, ... " and a meow similar to that of the cats for the communication " ooooon , oooooon... ". This is a truly endangered species.
It is estimated that its range has declined by 50% in the last 30 years. There would remain a little more than a thousand wild-crowned sifakas and less than twenty in captivity.
The disappearance or fragmentation of its habitat is the main threat to this species due to the bad habits of the local population, which constantly exploits the forest. As for predators, the carnivorous mammal (cryptoprocta ferox) fosa remains the great natural predator of this lemur, as well as the large birds of prey that hunt newborns. Unfortunately, they are sometimes also hunted by humans... The crowned sifaka, is therefore one of the most endangered animals (threatened on the IUCN Red List), but also the least studied lemur in Madagascar.
This species, which lives in the west and south of Madagascar, has several subspecies that are distinguished by the shade of their fur and their location.
The sifakas, "sifaka" in Malagasy, are among the most evolved lemurs. Their snout is shorter than that of the other lemurs.
They are large animals that weigh almost four kilos. Their movements are radically different from those of the other species: they move vertically in small jumps, their arms are spread to ensure their balance.
Sifakas have the peculiarity to move in the spiny trees of the dry forest. They can make jumps of 6 meters through the squid trees in the south of Madagascar. Their biotope is found in the forests of the south and west. Groups vary from 3 to 10 people depending on the region. Groups of 6 to 8 individuals are the most commonly observed.
Early in the morning, they bask on the high branches of the forest and sit with their arms outstretched to accumulate maximum heat. The Coquerel's Prophithecus lives in the dry, deciduous (not evergreen) forests of the northwestern part of Madagascar. It is one of the most beautiful sifaka species. As an adult, it weighs between 3.7 kg and 4.3 kg.
Generally, it is a dominant woman who leads a group of 2 to 6 people. On site distinguishes their pictorial movement is radically different from that of other lemurs. In fact, they make small vertical leaps, spreading their arms to ensure their balance, which is why they are called "dancing lemurs". This is due to the welding of the pelvic girdle, characteristic of the INDRIDAE family.
They can jump more than 6 m from tree to tree. Coquerel sifakas are leafy and frugivorous, so they feed mainly on leaves and fruits. During the rainy season, they also eat dead wood and buds. Sometimes they also enjoy the bark of trees during the dry season. It is a species of lemur that never drinks because it hydrates only from the sap of the leaves, from the morning dew deposited there, as well as from the sap of the fruits it consumes; this is characteristic of sifakas. Their reproductive period is between November and December, and births (only one pup per litter) take place in June or July after a gestation period of 162 days.
At birth, the child is strapped to his mother. After 60 days, he gives the back of his mother and remains there until the age of six months, perfecting his lifelong learning. The baby is weaned after 32 weeks. It reaches sexual maturity at 18 months of age. As an adult, it may be ejected to form a new family, thus avoiding consanguinity within its original group.
Deforestation, slash and burn, bushfires, as well as intensive hunting for their meat, are more dangerous than their natural predators (the fosa as well as the birds of prey that hunt newborns).
This species, which inhabits the eastern forest, has several subspecies, including the Diadema, which has a very colorful coat.
The Diademsifaka (Sifaka is the Malagasy name for the entire genus), or Propithecus diadema, is characterized by its large size and its black diadem pattern on the top of the skull. They live in the east of Madagascar.
In some documents, the diademic sifaka has two subspecies: Prophitecus diadema diadema, which has retained the name Prophitecus diadema alone, and Prophitecus diadema candidus, which became Propithecus candidus.
We still find their names in some documents. In addition, Prophitecus diadema is very close in general morphology to four species of the same genus: Propithecus edwardsi, Propithecus perrieri, Propithecus tattersali and Propithecus candidus.
In fact, they differ only by their colors.
The Diademed Sifaka belongs to the family Indridae and the genus Propithecus (Sifaka). It is classified as "critically endangered." The destruction of its habitat, in this case the eastern forest, is the main threat to the species. The current population is estimated at 6,000 to 10,000 individuals.
The Diademed Sifaka is the largest of the sifakas and one of the largest lemurs in competition with the Indri Indri. It measures about 1 m (including 50 cm tail) as an adult and weighs about 7.5 kg, sometimes up to 8.5 kg. It has a long, silky and colorful coat; white on the cheeks, forehead and throat, black for the crown to the lower back and orange to yellow-brown for the limbs. The face, hand and feet are completely black. Finally, his eyes are reddish brown.
The Diadem Sifaka lives in groups of two to ten individuals. It is diurnal and a great traveler during the day in search of its food. It can travel more than a mile a day. It feeds on fruits, flowers, seeds and green leaves.
These animals are more comfortable in trees, as they are more like side jumpers. They are rarely seen on the ground, where their two most dangerous predators are found: the Nile crocodile and the Fosa.
The Candidus, all white, and Perrieri, all black.
Tattersall's Sifaka or Gold crown sifaka
This newly recognized species lives in the eastern forest. Its range is curiously interspersed between those of two subspecies of sifakas with diadems.
The gold crowned sifaka is a medium-sized lemur characterized by short, mostly white fur, protruding furry ears, and a golden-orange crown.
It weighs about 3.5 kg (7.7 lb) and is about 50 cm (20″) long. It is found in gallery, semi-evergreen and dry deciduous forests, where it is mostly diurnal and roosts in tall emergent trees.
The diet of the golden-crowned sifaka consists mainly of seeds, shoots, immature fruits, young and mature leaves and flowers.
Golden-crowned sifaka groups vary in size from 3 to 10 individuals, averaging about 5 individuals. Groups usually include 2 adults of each sex, but only 1 female reproduces each year. Within the group, females are usually dominant over males.
The Gold crown sifaka is limited to a small area between the Rivers Manambato and Loky in the northeast of Madagascar.
It is one of the most endangered lemurs. This species has one of the smallest ranges and documented population sizes of all lemurs.
Its geographic range may be only 30 - 35 km (19 - 22 mi) in diameter (equivalent to a roughly circular area of 710 - 960 sq km (272 - 370 sq mi)). The total population is distributed among a number of discontinuous forest fragments.
The largest single population is estimated at about 2500 individuals.
Forests throughout its limited range are already highly fragmented, and the species occurs only in isolated forest remnants surrounded by agriculture.
The biggest threats are gold mining and habitat loss due to conversion for agriculture.
Mining activities destroy habitat and miners hunt the region's animals for food. Other threats include uncontrolled grass fires, logging for housing, firewood production, and logging.
The largest lemur (70 cm) resembles the sifakas in appearance, but has only one tail stump.
The species Indri Indri
The Indri Indri belongs to the order of primates and the sub-branches of lemurs and is a rare species that differs from other species of lemurs endemic to Madagascar, especially by the absence of the tail, but also by their behavior.
In fact, besides the physical peculiarity of its stump of less than 3 cm, which acts as a tail, a distinctive feature that distinguishes it from its conspecifics, the Indri indri also possesses an independent morality, the main feature of which is manifested by dissonant songs, the purpose of which is to indicate its presence and territory.
In the shadow of the fame of the lemur Catta, which is a landmark of the big island and even played a famous character in the movie Madagascar, the Indri remains no less one of the most fascinating species of lemurs found in Madagascar.
The Indri is rare and differs from the other lemurs of the big island by its size, behavior and diet. Indris are dependent on preserved rainforests that they need about 30 leaves of different tropical trees, so they are locally endemic and can survive neither in other biotopes nor in zoos.
It is a species that must be discovered, especially since it is one of the most endangered and its extinction may soon occur.
Where can the Indri be observed?
Discover our tours in the east of Madagascar:
The indri, which is endemic to eastern Madagascar, can be found in the Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, in the Marimizaha forest at Marojejy National Parkbut also and less easily in the Perinet Park can be observed. The easiest way to observe this kind of lemurs is in Ankanin'ny Nofy in the Palmarium.
These are the only places where the Indri can be observed.
These parks are the only refuges they have left, the only guarantees of their livelihood.
If some species, despite their status as endangered species, can still count on their conservation in zoological environments, this is not the case with the Indri indri lemur, whose conservation in captivity is impossible, mainly because of its diet, which must be very varied.
The Indri lemur needs at least thirty different kinds of leaves for its diet to be satisfactory.
Knowing that the indri can consume up to sixty different leaf species in its natural environment, it is obvious that the conditions of its diet cannot be replicated in a captive environment.
The Indri lemurs, also known by the local population as the Babakoto are territorial animals that spend most of their time high up in the trees of the tropical forests of eastern Madagascar, living in small groups led by female indri.
These groups generally start their days with songs that indicate their presence more than three kilometers away:
The different groups of people living nearby communicate almost daily through the exchange of vocalizations, whose amazing nature has even been the subject of a study to understand its full scope.
It is known for its very powerful territorial claims.