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Black & White Ruffed Lemurs

Madagascar is a truly amazing island nation literally trapped in time.   Separated from the mainland Continent of Africa millions of years ago, and lying due east off the coast, Madagascar is home to endemic species of animals found no where else on earth. An endemic species is a plant or animal that is found only on an island or other geographically created barrier such as the elevations of a mountain range.

The Black & White Ruffed Lemur is an example of just such a creature. Home to more than a dozen species of Lemurs, Madagascar boosts the privilege of being the only place on earth Lemurs can be found. The Black & White Lemur is the largest living species of true Lemur. Attaining a length of over four feet from head to tip of tail, these giants of the Lemurs are also one of the loudest. Male and female Lemurs look the same and attain roughly the same size and weight; this is unusual in the primate world. Their voice can be used as an alarm call to warn each other of danger from predators or can be used to mark territory.

Range: Madagascar.  All 49 species of lemur are found no where else on earth, this makes lemurs an "endemic species"

Habitat: Forested regions.  This species of lemur has been credited with pollinating a specific form of palm tree known as the "travelers palm". As the lemur sticks its long snout and tongue deep inside a tree's flower, it collects pollen on its muzzle and fur, and then transports it to the next flower.

Natural Diet: Fruits & Vegetation, the diet of the Black and White Ruffed Lemur varies by season on the island of Madagascar.

Diet at Rain Forest: Prepared Zoo Monkey Diet/Fresh Fruits

Range of the Black & white Lemur on the island of Madagascar

Rain Forest Facts: The black and white lemur is one of the only lemurs known to give birth to multiple babies.  The average size litter is 3, occasionally as many as 5 are born to a female.  Literally translated the word Lemur means "Ghost of the trees"

Size: 5-7 Pounds

Status in Wild: Endangered





Madagascar  -2005

New Lemur Species Discovered in Madagascar
German Scientists Name One Species after WWF Biologist

Goodman's Mouse Lemur has a white stripe on its nose, maroon, orange and white fur, and short, rounded ears.
photo: Robert Zingg

Two new lemur species have been discovered on the island nation of Madagascar and one of them has been named after Dr. Steve Goodman, a scientist with World Wildlife Fund and Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History.

Goodman's Mouse Lemur (Microcebus lehilahytsara) is barely bigger than a mouse, has a white stripe on its nose, maroon, orange and white fur, and short, rounded ears (lehilahytsara is the Malagasy word for good man). Scientists with the German Primate Center and the University of Göttingen and their Malagasy collaborators analyzed its genetic makeup and determined it was an entirely new species of mouse lemur.

The scientists named it after Goodman, coordinator of WWF's Ecology Training Program and Senior Field Biologist at The Field Museum in recognition of his almost two decades of field research and its contribution to understanding the diversity of Madagascar's unique and threatened fauna.

"It's a great privilege to have this species named after me, but it really honors all of the project members, scientists and researchers who work in the field with us over the years," Goodman said. "These discoveries underline how little we know about the fauna of Madagascar."

The second species, Mirza zaza, was named in honor of Madagascar's children, since zaza is the Malagasy word for child. It is nocturnal, weighing about 10 ounces and is the size of a gray squirrel.

Lemurs exist only on Madagascar and are considered the most endangered of all primates. The discovery of two new species shows the importance of conserving Madagascar's rapidly disappearing forests.


Madagascar is highlighted in redMadagascar is home to all 49 species of known lemurs.







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