Greater dwarf lemur

Cheirogaleus major

SUBFAMILY

Cheirogaleinae

TAXONOMY

Cheirogaleus major É. Geoffroy, 1812, Fort Dauphin, Madagascar.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Grand cheirogale; German: Grosser Katzenmaki.

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Phaner furcifer

Mirza coquereli

Allocebus trichotis

H Cheirogaleus major H Cheirogaleus medius

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Dorsal fur medium brown to deep reddish brown; ventral fur creamy white or yellowish white. Eyes surrounded by dark rings and separated by a pale stripe. Ears medium-sized and naked, but partially hidden by surrounding fur. Length 9.6 in (24 cm), tail 11.2 in (28 cm); 16 oz (438 g) for males, 13 oz (362 g) for females.

DISTRIBUTION

Occurs throughout the eastern rainforest of Madagascar, from the extreme north to the far south.

HABITAT

Evergreen rainforest. BEHAVIOR

Generally solitary when active at night, but share nests. Undergo a period of genuine obligatory torpor during the austral winter (dry season), accumulating fat stores in the tail prior to becoming inactive.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Feed mainly on fruit, supplemented with insects and possibly some plant exudates.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Monogamous. Strictly seasonal breeding, with births and rearing of offspring during the wet season (October-March). Gestation period of about 70 days. Usually two offspring.

CONSERVATION STATUS Not threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Sometimes eaten by humans, but otherwise of little significance. ♦

BEHAVIOR

Undergoes a period of genuine obligatory torpor during the austral winter, accumulating conspicuous fat stores in the tail prior to entering torpor. Generally solitary when active at night, but adults form monogamous pairs with shared nests and home ranges.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Feeds mainly on fruit, supplemented with insects and plant ex-udates.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Monogamous. Strictly seasonal breeding, with births and rearing of offspring during the wet season (October-March). Ovarian cycle length approximately 20 days. Gestation period about 62 days. Usually two offspring, but sometimes three or even four.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Sometimes eaten by humans, but otherwise of little significance. ♦

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