Redtailed sportive lemur

Lepilemur ruficaudatus

SUBFAMILY

Lepilemurinae

TAXONOMY

Lepilemur ruficaudatus A. Grandidier, 1867, Morondara, Madagascar.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Petit lépilémur; Spanish: Lémur juguetón de cola roja. PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Red-tailed sportive lemurs have a head and body length of about 11.0 (28.0 cm), with a tail length of 9.8-10.2 in (25.0-26.0 cm) and a fluctuating weight of 1.3-2.0 lb (0.6-0.9 kg). They are arboreal and nocturnal, and possess binocular

I Lepilemur mustelinus I Lepilemur ruficaudatus vision, a large cecum, and large digital pads on its hands and feet that are used for clinging. Its dorsal side is light gray-brown in coloration with red-brown color on its front (anterior) side and light gray or white on its under parts. It travels through the forest by vertical clinging and leaping.

DISTRIBUTION

Southwestern Madagascar, in the region of Morondava and ending at its southern border along the Onilahy river.

HABITAT

They live in dry forests. The population density of the species is 180-350 animals per 0.4 sq mi (1.0 sq km).

BEHAVIOR

The social structure of the species is based around mothers and their young. Males live alone and have home ranges that overlap one or more females. Mothers often will leave their young on branches, while they go off to forage for food. For the first few weeks of life, mothers will transport the young by picking them up in their mouths. All animals are highly territorial, with the males sometimes defending their territory with violent means.

Communication comes with various sounds, but with two primary calls. The "loud" calls are used frequently as male territorial calls, to demarcate a male's territory and to advise other males that an area is already taken. The call sounds like "boako-boako," and is sometimes preceded by grunts. The "contact-rejection" call often occurs when an individual approaches another one. It consists of a series of resonant hissing calls, which is followed by a two-phase vocalization.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Red-tailed sportive lemurs are primarily folivorous animals (eating mostly tender leaves), but they also eat fruits. During summers the fruits from the Diospyros spp. are often eaten. The species is also a cecotroph, re-digesting their feces in order to break down the cellulose in the already eaten leaves.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

The mating system is polygynous, where a male will visit one or more females during the mating season. The mating season begins around May. Females give birth to a single offspring each year, with the young normally born between September and November. The young become independent of their mothers at around one year of age.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Listed as Lower Risk/Near Threatened by the IUCN. Also listed on CITES Appendix I and as endangered by the U.S. ESA. Total populations are estimated to number 10,000-100,000, and the species is threatened with destruction of its habitat.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS Hunted for food. ♦

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