White-headed Lemur
Encyclopedia
The white-headed lemur (Eulemur albifrons), also known as the white-headed brown lemur, white-fronted brown lemur, or white-fronted lemur, is a species of primate
Primate
A primate is a mammal of the order Primates , which contains prosimians and simians. Primates arose from ancestors that lived in the trees of tropical forests; many primate characteristics represent adaptations to life in this challenging three-dimensional environment...

 in the Lemuridae
Lemuridae
Lemuridae is a family of prosimian primates native to Madagascar, and one of five families commonly known as lemurs. These animals were thought to be the evolutionary predecessors of monkeys and apes, but this is no longer considered correct...

 family. It is only found in north-eastern Madagascar
Madagascar
The Republic of Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa...

. It is arboreal and are usually found in rainforest tree tops.

Physical characteristics

The white-headed lemur is a medium-sized lemur
Lemur
Lemurs are a clade of strepsirrhine primates endemic to the island of Madagascar. They are named after the lemures of Roman mythology due to the ghostly vocalizations, reflective eyes, and the nocturnal habits of some species...

 and has a horizontal posture, which is suited to its way of movement. It has a long furry tail assisting it in maintaining its balance as it lands from leaping at a considerable distance. Males have gray-brown upper parts, with darker lower limbs and tail, paler gray upper parts, gray head and face and a darker crown. Females have redder-brown upper parts, paler underparts and darker feet than males. The cheeks and beards are white, bushy and pronounced in males, reddish-brown and less bushy in females. The head, face and muzzle of the female are dark gray, but without the bushy cheeks of the male. The white-headed lemur has an average body weight of 2.3 kg, and body length of 40 cm, and its tail can grow up to 50 cm.

It is likely that, as with other lemurs in the genus family, the maximum lifespan in the wild ranges between 20 and 25 years. In captivity it can live up to 36 years.

The species was previously classified as Eulemur fulvus albifrons, a subspecies of the common brown lemur
Common Brown Lemur
The common brown lemur , or brown lemur, is a species of lemur in the Lemuridae family. It is found in Madagascar and Mayotte.-Range:...

, and although very similar in appearance genetic analysis supports distinct species status.

Habitat and range

This lemur is mostly found in moist lowland
Lowland
In physical geography, a lowland is any broad expanse of land with a general low level. The term is thus applied to the landward portion of the upward slope from oceanic depths to continental highlands, to a region of depression in the interior of a mountainous region, to a plain of denudation, or...

 and montane
Montane
In biogeography, montane is the highland area located below the subalpine zone. Montane regions generally have cooler temperatures and often have higher rainfall than the adjacent lowland regions, and are frequently home to distinct communities of plants and animals.The term "montane" means "of the...

 rainforests. The white-headed lemur is arboreal and spends most of its time in the upper layers of the forest. It is only found in north-eastern Madagascar
Madagascar
The Republic of Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa...

.

Behaviour and mating

This species is cathemeral
Cathemeral
A cathemeral organism is one that has sporadic and random intervals of activity during the day or night in which food is acquired, socializing with other organisms occurs, and any other activities necessary for livelihood are performed...

, meaning it is active at varying times throughout the day and night. It has an omnivorous diet consisting of fruit, mature leaves, flowers, bark, sap
Sap
Sap may refer to:* Plant sap, the fluid transported in xylem cells or phloem sieve tube elements of a plant* Sap , a village in the Dunajsk√° Streda District of Slovakia...

, soil, insects, centipede
Centipede
Centipedes are arthropods belonging to the class Chilopoda of the subphylum Myriapoda. They are elongated metameric animals with one pair of legs per body segment. Despite the name, centipedes can have a varying number of legs from under 20 to over 300. Centipedes have an odd number of pairs of...

s and millipede
Millipede
Millipedes are arthropods that have two pairs of legs per segment . Each segment that has two pairs of legs is a result of two single segments fused together as one...

s.

The mating system of this lemur has not been reported. However, other species in the genus Eulemur are either monogamous or polygynous. It is likely that the white-headed lemur is similar. For the first three weeks of its life, a young lemur hangs onto its mother's belly, altering its grasp only to nurse. After three weeks have passed, it shifts and rides on the mother's back. It then starts to take its first steps. Following this, it starts to sample solid food, nibbling on whatever the other members of the group happen to be eating. This is its first sign of independence. Nursing continues but its importance in the infant's diet tapers. The young lemur is weaned
Weaning
Weaning is the process of gradually introducing a mammal infant, either human or animal, to what will be its adult diet and withdrawing the supply of its mother's milk.The process takes place only in mammals, as only mammals produce milk...

 after approximately 4 to 6 months - usually by January.

Unlike other members of the genus, females are not usually dominant to males, so the degree to which females exert active mate choice is not known. It forms multi-male multi-female groups. Depending on the population, the size of these groups can vary, possibly including up to 40 individuals.

Status

Eulemur albifrons is classified as lower risk/near threatened on the IUCN Red List
IUCN Red List
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species , founded in 1963, is the world's most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species. The International Union for Conservation of Nature is the world's main authority on the conservation status of species...

in 2004, although it is classified there as a subspecies (Eulemur fulvus albifrons) of the common brown lemur.

External links

  • Bharti, N. 2000. "Eulemur fulvus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed March 10, 2008 at .
  • White-fronted Brown Lemur. Utah's Hogle Zoo Home. 10 Mar. 2008 .
  • "Brown lemur." Science and Nature : Animals. bbc.co.uk. 10 Mar. 2008 .
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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