Goodman's mouse lemur
Goodman's mouse lemur is a species of mouse lemur from the region near Andasibe in eastern Madagascar. The species is named in honor of primatologist Steven M. Goodman. "Lehilahytsara" is a combination of the Malagasy words which mean "good" and "man". The finding was presented August 10, 2005, along with the discovery of the northern giant mouse lemur as a separate species. In 2005, Goodman was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship for his discovery and further research in Madagascar. Mouse lemurs are among the smallest primates, Goodman’s mouse lemur is no exception. Although not the smallest overall, Goodman’s mouse lemur has a head-body length comparable to M. berthae, the smallest known primate. The average size ranges from 45-48 grams, with males being larger than females. Goodman’s mouse lemur is maroon with a white underbelly and orange tint on their backs. Goodman’s lemurs undergo daily torpor as well as winter torpor, their tails are able to store fat, useful in preparing for winter torpor. Although all females experience torpor each winter, not all males go into winter torpor annually.
For those males that do enter winter torpor, they exit torpor on average 20 days prior to females. This is so males can better prepare for mating which happens immediately following the ending of female winter torpor; the males that do not go into winter torpor are older males that are better able to compete against younger males in procuring a mate. Goodman’s mouse lemurs spend most of their waking time alone, they are only found in pairs during reproduction and when altercations. 51% of these altercations involve food. Although females tend to be smaller than males, when fighting over food, females come out as the winners; this is. Because females are more dominant, males tend to have a greater foraging area. In some cases, the male’s feeding area can be up to four times the size of females feeding area, it has been proposed that the larger area is due to being chased away from better feeding grounds by the dominant females. However, not all social behavior is negative in Goodman’s mouse lemur.
Oftentimes groups of two to four lemurs of the same sex will gather together to sleep. This is to conserve heat. Most in a group of females, those that share a sleeping space are related, groups of males do not show much if any relation with those they sleep with. In addition to mutualistic sleeping behavior, these lemurs share another positive social interaction. During mating season and females must come together peacefully; this happens in the spring shortly after waking up from winter torpor. The males have large testes, which implies that as opposed to male-male competition in fighting, they are much more to undergo sperm competition which limits some of the social aspects of breeding that many other animals undergo; the genus Microcebus is shown to have diverged ten to nine million years ago. This split allowed for greater radiation of mouse lemurs; the mouse lemurs split into three distinct clades. Goodman’s mouse lemur has been grouped with five other species due to mitochondrial DNA sequencing.
540 thousand years ago M. marohita split from the other four mouse lemur populations within that clade. The most recent split was about 52 thousand years ago when M. lehilahytsara and M. mittermeieri became two distinct species. Correlated with the most recent speciation was a climatic change period, it has been proposed that this climate change would have desiccated the central highlands of Eastern Madagascar. The change in climate and habitat is the cause of the recent speciation. Evidence for this is that the habitat for Goodman’s Lemur does not overlap with any other mouse lemurs; the habitat would have changed in such a way that the lemurs that would become Goodman's mouse lemur would be the only ones that could survive in that habitat. Two new lemur species discovered - Press release from the Chicago Field Museum Photos from ARKive
Strepsirrhini or Strepsirhini is a suborder of primates that includes the lemuriform primates, which consist of the lemurs of Madagascar and pottos from Africa, the lorises from India and southeast Asia. Collectively they are referred to as strepsirrhines. Belonging to the suborder are the extinct adapiform primates that thrived during the Eocene in Europe, North America, Asia, but disappeared from most of the Northern Hemisphere as the climate cooled. Adapiforms are sometimes referred to as being "lemur-like", although the diversity of both lemurs and adapiforms does not support this comparison. Strepsirrhines are defined by their "wet" rhinarium - hence the colloquial but inaccurate term "wet-nosed" - similar to the rhineria of dogs and cats, they have a smaller brain than comparably sized simians, large olfactory lobes for smell, a vomeronasal organ to detect pheromones, a bicornuate uterus with an epitheliochorial placenta. Their eyes contain a reflective layer to improve their night vision, their eye sockets include a ring of bone around the eye, but they lack a wall of thin bone behind it.
Strepsirrhine primates produce their own vitamin C, whereas haplorhine primates must obtain it from their diets. Lemuriform primates are characterized by a toothcomb, a specialized set of teeth in the front, lower part of the mouth used for combing fur during grooming. Many of today's living strepsirrhines are endangered due to habitat destruction, hunting for bushmeat, live capture for the exotic pet trade. Both living and extinct strepsirrhines are behaviorally diverse, although all are arboreal. Most living lemuriforms are nocturnal. Both living and extinct groups fed on fruit and insects; the taxonomic name Strepsirrhini derives from the Greek στρεψίς" and ῥινός, which refers to the appearance of the sinuous nostrils on the rhinarium or wet nose. The name was first used by French naturalist Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire in 1812 as a subordinal rank comparable to Platyrrhini and Catarrhini. In his description, he mentioned "Les narines terminales et sinueuses"; when British zoologist Reginald Innes Pocock revived Strepsirrhini and defined Haplorhini in 1918, he omitted the second "r" from both, although he did not remove the second "r" from Platyrrhini or Catarrhini, both of which were named by É.
Geoffroy in 1812. Following Pocock, many researchers continued to spell Strepsirrhini with a single "r" until primatologists Paulina Jenkins and Prue Napier pointed out the error in 1987. Strepsirrhines include the extinct adapiforms and the lemuriform primates, which include lemurs and lorisoids. Strepsirrhines diverged from the haplorhine primates near the beginning of the primate radiation between 55 and 90 mya. Older divergence dates are based on genetic analysis estimates, while younger dates are based on the scarce fossil record. Lemuriform primates may have evolved from either cercamoniines or sivaladapids, both of which were adapiforms that may have originated in Asia, they were once thought to have evolved from adapids, a more specialized and younger branch of adapiform from Europe. Lemurs rafted from Africa to Madagascar between 47 and 54 mya, whereas the lorises split from the African galagos around 40 mya and colonized Asia; the lemuriforms, the lemurs of Madagascar, are portrayed inappropriately as "living fossils" or as examples of "basal", or "inferior" primates.
These views have hindered the understanding of mammalian evolution and the evolution of strepsirrhine traits, such as their reliance on smell, characteristics of their skeletal anatomy, their brain size, small. In the case of lemurs, natural selection has driven this isolated population of primates to diversify and fill a rich variety of ecological niches, despite their smaller and less complex brains compared to simians; the divergence between strepsirrhines and tarsiers followed immediately after primates first evolved. Although few fossils of living primate groups – lemuriforms and simians – are known from the Early to Middle Eocene, evidence from genetics and recent fossil finds both suggest they may have been present during the early adaptive radiation; the origin of the earliest primates that the simians and tarsiers both evolved from is a mystery. Both their place of origin and the group from which they emerged are uncertain. Although the fossil record demonstrating their initial radiation across the Northern Hemisphere is detailed, the fossil record from the tropics is sparse around the time that primates and other major clades of eutherian mammals first appeared.
Lacking detailed tropical fossils and primatologists have used genetic analyses to determine the relatedness between primate lineages and the amount of time since they diverged. Using this molecular clock, divergence dates for the major primate lineages have suggested that primates evolved more than 80–90 mya, nearly 40 million years before the first examples appear in the fossil record; the early primates include both nocturnal and diurnal small-bodied species, all were arboreal, with hands and feet specially adapted for maneuvering on small branches. Plesiadapiforms from the early Paleocene are sometimes considered "archaic primates", because their teeth rese
Giant mouse lemur
The giant mouse lemurs are a genus of strepsirrhine primates. Two species have been formally described. Like all other lemurs, they are native to Madagascar, where they are found in the western dry deciduous forests and further to the north in the Sambirano valley and Sahamalaza Peninsula. First described in 1867 as a single species, they were grouped with mouse dwarf lemurs. In 1870, British zoologist John Edward Gray assigned them to Mirza; the classification was not accepted until the 1990s, which followed the revival of the genus by American paleoanthropologist Ian Tattersall in 1982. In 2005, the northern population was declared a new species, in 2010, the World Wide Fund for Nature announced that a southwestern population might be a new species. Giant mouse lemurs are about three times larger than mouse lemurs, weighing 300 g, have a long, bushy tail, they are most related to mouse lemurs within Cheirogaleidae, a family of small, nocturnal lemurs. Giant mouse lemurs sleep in nests during the day and forage alone at night for fruit, tree gum and small vertebrates.
Unlike many other cheirogaleids, they do not enter a state of torpor during the dry season. The northern species is more social than the southern species when nesting, though males and females may form pair bonds; the northern species has the largest testicle size relative to its body size among all primates and is atypical among lemurs for breeding year-round instead of seasonally. Home ranges overlap, with related females living together while males disperse. Giant mouse lemurs are vocal, although they scent mark using saliva and secretions from the anogenital scent gland. Predators of giant mouse lemurs include the Madagascar buzzard, Madagascar owl and the narrow-striped mongoose. Giant mouse lemurs reproduce once a year, with two offspring born after a 90-day gestation. Babies are left in the nest while the mother forages, but are carried by mouth and parked in vegetation while she forages nearby. In captivity, giant mouse lemurs will breed year-round, their lifespan in the wild is thought to be five to six years.
Both species are listed as endangered due to habitat hunting. Like all lemurs, they are protected under CITES Appendix I. Despite breeding they are kept in captivity; the Duke Lemur Center coordinated the captive breeding of an imported collection of the northern species, which rose from six individuals in 1982 to 62 individuals by 1989, but the population fell to six by 2009 and was no longer considered a breeding population. The first species of giant mouse lemur was described by the French naturalist Alfred Grandidier in 1867 based on seven individuals he had collected near Morondava in southwestern Madagascar. Of these seven specimens, the lectotype was selected in 1939 as MNHN 1867–603, an adult skull and skin. Naming the species after the French entomologist Charles Coquerel, Grandidier placed Coquerel's giant mouse lemur with the dwarf lemurs in the genus Cheirogaleus as C. coquereli. He selected this generic assignment based on similarities with fork-marked lemurs, which he considered to be members of Cheirogaleus.
The following year, the German naturalist Hermann Schlegel and Dutch naturalist François Pollen independently described the same species and coincidentally gave it the same specific name, basing theirs on an individual from around the Bay of Ampasindava in northern Madagascar. Unlike Grandidier, they placed their specimen in the genus Microcebus. In 1870, the British zoologist John Edward Gray placed Coquerel's giant mouse lemur into its own genus, Mirza; this classification was ignored and rejected in the early 1930s by zoologists Ernst Schwarz, Guillaume Grandidier, others, who felt that its longer fur and bushy tail did not merit a separate genus and instead placed it in Microcebus. British anatomist William Charles Osman Hill favored this view in 1953, noting that despite its larger size, its first upper premolar was proportionally small as in Microcebus. In 1977, French zoologist Jean-Jacques Petter favored the Microcebus classification, despite the threefold size difference between Coquerel's giant mouse lemur and the other members of the genus.
The genus Mirza was resurrected in 1982 by American paleoanthropologist Ian Tattersall to represent an intermediate branch between Microcebus and Cheirogaleus, citing the Coquerel's giant mouse lemur's larger size than the largest Microcebus and locomotor behavior more aligned with Cheirogaleus. Adoption of Mirza was slow, though in 1994 it was used in the first edition of Lemurs of Madagascar by Conservation International. In 1993, primatologist Colin Groves favored the Microcebus classification in the second edition of Mammal Species of the World, but began supporting the resurrection of Mirza in 2001. In 1991, prior to adopting Mirza, Groves was the first to use the common name "giant mouse lemur". Prior to that, they were popularly referred to as "Coquerel's mouse lemur". In 2005, Peter M. Kappeler and Christian Roos described a new species of giant mouse lemur, the northern giant mouse lemur, their studies compared the morphology, behavioral ecology, mitochondrial cytochrome b sequences of specimens from both Kirindy Fo
Gray mouse lemur
The gray mouse lemur, grey mouse lemur or lesser mouse lemur, is a small lemur, a type of strepsirrhine primate, found only on the island of Madagascar. Weighing 58 to 67 grams, it is the largest of the mouse lemurs, a group that includes the smallest primates in the world; the species is named for its mouse-like size and coloration and is known locally as tsidy, titilivaha and vakiandry. The gray mouse lemur and all other mouse lemurs are considered cryptic species, as they are nearly indistinguishable from each other by appearance. For this reason, the gray mouse lemur was considered the only mouse lemur species for decades until more recent studies began to distinguish between the species. Like all mouse lemurs, this species is arboreal, it is active, though it forages alone, groups of males and females form sleeping groups and share tree holes during the day. It exhibits a form of dormancy called torpor during the cool, dry winter months, in some cases undergoes seasonal torpor, unusual for primates.
The gray mouse lemur can be found in several types of forest throughout western and southern Madagascar. Its diet consists of fruit, insects and nectar. In the wild, its natural predators include owls and endemic mammalian predators. Predation pressure is higher for this species than among any other primate species, with one out of four individuals taken by a predator each year; this is counterbalanced by its high reproductive rate. Breeding is seasonal, distinct vocalizations are used to prevent hybridization with species that overlap its range. Gestation lasts 60 days, two young are born; the offspring are independent in two months, can reproduce after one year. The gray mouse lemur has a reproductive lifespan of five years, although captive individuals have been reported to live up to 15 years. Although threatened by deforestation, habitat degradation, live capture for the pet trade, it is considered one of Madagascar's most abundant small native mammals, it can tolerate moderate food shortages by experiencing daily torpor to conserve energy, but extended food shortages due to climate change may pose a significant risk to the species.
The gray or lesser mouse lemur is named for its brownish-gray fur and mouse-like size and appearance. The genus name, derives from the Greek words mikros, meaning "small", kebos, meaning "monkey"; the Latin version of kebos, cebus, is a common suffix used for primate names, despite the fact that the gray mouse lemur is a lemur, not a monkey. The species name, means "mouse-like" and derives from the Latin word mus, or "mouse", the Latin suffix -inus, which means "like"; the lemur is known locally depending upon the region. Around Tôlanaro, it is called pondiky. In the northern end of its range, it is known as tsidy. Around Morondava, it is referred to as koitsiky and vakiandry. In many cases, these Malagasy names are used for other visually indistinguishable mouse lemur species that live within its range; as its name implies, the gray mouse lemur is a lemur, a type of primate, belongs to the suborder Strepsirrhini and infraorder Lemuriformes. Within Lemuriformes, it belongs to the family Cheirogaleidae, which contains the mouse lemurs, dwarf lemurs, giant mouse lemurs, fork-marked lemurs, hairy-eared dwarf lemur.
The mouse lemur genus. Phylogenetic analyses of D-loop DNA sequences of various lemur species suggest that the gray mouse lemur may be most related to the reddish-gray mouse lemur. First described in 1777 by English illustrator John Frederick Miller, M. murinus remained the only species of its genus, as well as the name used for all mouse lemurs on Madagascar, between the first major taxonomic revision in 1931 and an extensive field study conducted in 1972. The field study distinguished the brown mouse lemur, M. rufus—then considered a subspecies—as a distinct, sympatric species in the southeastern part of the island. Upon this revision, the gray mouse lemur was thought to account for all mouse lemurs that lived in the drier parts of the north and south, while the brown mouse lemur represented the eastern rainforest mouse lemurs. More scientific understanding of the distribution and diversity of the mouse lemurs has become much more complex. Additional field studies, genetic testing, resulting taxonomic revisions throughout the 1990s and 2000s identified numerous new mouse lemur species, demonstrating that the genus includes at least 17 cryptic species.
The gray mouse lemur shares many traits with other mouse lemurs, including soft fur, a long tail, long hind limbs, a dorsal stripe down the back, a short snout, rounded skull, prominent eyes, large, protruding ears. It has a tapetum lucidum to enhance its vision at night; the dorsal coat is brownish-gray with various reddish tones, the flanks are light gray to beige, the ventral fur has discrete dull beige or whitish-beige patches along portions of the belly. On the rounded face, there is a pale white patch between the eyes; the furred portions of the hands and feet are off-white. The gray mouse lemur is one of the smallest primates in the world, yet it is the largest mouse lemur, its total length is 25 to 28 cm, with a head-body length of 12 to 14 cm and a tail length of 13 to 14.5 cm. The average weight for this species is
Madame Berthe's mouse lemur
Madame Berthe's mouse lemur or Berthe's mouse lemur is the smallest of the mouse lemurs and the smallest primate in the world. Microcebus berthae is one of many species of Malagasy lemurs that came about through extensive speciation, caused by unknown environmental mechanisms and conditions; this primate is found chiefly in the Kirindy Forest in western Madagascar. After its discovery in 1992 in the dry deciduous forest of western Madagascar, it was thought to represent a rediscovery of M. myoxinus, but comparative morphometric and genetic studies revealed its status as a new species, M. berthae. This lemur is named after the conservationist and primatologist Berthe Rakotosamimanana of Madagascar, the Secretary General of the Groupe d'Etudes et de Recherche des Primates from its founding until her death in 2005. Microcebus berthae has short, dense dorsal pelage, bicolored cinnamon and yellow ochre; the middorsal stripe is tawny in color. The midventral area of this species is chamois in color while the flanks are a mixture of pale chamois and light pale neutral gray.
The dorsal and ventral underfur is neutral blackish neutral gray in color. The tail has short hair, tawny; the crown and ears are tawny in color. The orbits are surrounded by a narrow dark band; the area between the eyes is cinnamon in color. The hands and feet are dull beige. Madame Berthe's mouse lemur, known to live in Kirindy Forest in Madagascar, is found to inhabit the Reserve Speciale d'Andranomena, it is suggested that they live in Analabe, given the spotted distribution of the series. Madame Berthe's mouse lemurs use the tangles of tree vines to sleep in; because of its limited spread, it is thought that they are specialist creatures that will only live in that one specific environment. Another idea suggests that they most compete with M. murinus, chiefly for resources. Because of the high rate of deforestation in the surrounding Menabe forests between 1985 and 2000, less than 22,000 hectares of inhabitable forests remained between Kirindy Park, the Tsiribihina River, the Reserve. Given that this lemur occurs at 0.36 lemurs per ha, it is estimated that about 7,920 mouse lemurs were left in the area in the year 2000.
With deforestation continuing to occur on the island nation, the species is listed as endangered, at best. Microcebus berthae are solitary foragers, but are not without social interaction with other members of their species. About half the time, they sleep alone. Otherwise, they can be found sleeping next to one or more lemurs, with no preference or prejudice to close relatives or members of the opposite sex. Be it alone or in a group, Microcebus berthae tend to sleep in leaf nests in trees, or without a nest, in hole-like structures. On occasion, the paths of two members of the species may cross, leading to different kinds of social encounters; some encounters involve bouts of sex, or huddling. Other meet-ups between lemurs might include chasing and grabbing. Overall, male-male and female-female interactions do not differ qualitatively. Unlike other species of lemur, Microcebus berthae do not hibernate during the cold-dry season, instead compensating for food scarcity with a larger than average home range.
In a population of Microcebus berthae, males outnumber females. Despite there being no sexual dimorphism in skull length, canine height, or tail length, the average female is larger than the average male in head-body length and head width. Average body mass, while equal during mating season, becomes smaller for males in the duration of time excluding mating season. Males have a home range of about 4.92 hectares, while females have a home range of about 2.50 hectares. Females tend to remain in a home range, close to, or includes their place of birth; this is the opposite of males. The home ranges of individual lemurs tend to overlap with each other, with female home ranges overlapping with that of one or two other females, male home ranges overlapping with that of up to nine other males. Social systems of M. berthae are more similar to the grey mouse lemur than the fat-tailed dwarf lemur, i.e. Madame Berthe's mouse lemur is sexually promiscuous rather than monogamous; the range in distance of males is larger than that of the females in both Microcebus species, both before and after mating seasons.
Research has been conducted on the distribution of sleeping sites, as well as on testes size and the presence of vaginal plugs. Study of capture rates and physiological proof reveals no evidence that M. berthae has a hibernation season, which increases the chances of sexual activity within the species. Mouse lemurs are considered to be a cryptic species complex; the species-rich mouse lemur genus Microcebus is distributed over nearly all remaining forest areas of Madagascar with a high variability in species distribution patterns and are similar morphologically. They are so similar, that the gray mouse lemur was considered the only mouse lemur until recent studies proved it to be otherwise. Along with other morphological similarities, the Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur and the gray mouse lemur share a similar diet and live in the same region of western Madagascar. Both of these Microcebus species have an omnivorous diet, used the same food sources, including sugary homopteran secretions, flowers, gum and small vertebrates.
Because of their
Mammals are vertebrate animals constituting the class Mammalia, characterized by the presence of mammary glands which in females produce milk for feeding their young, a neocortex, fur or hair, three middle ear bones. These characteristics distinguish them from reptiles and birds, from which they diverged in the late Triassic, 201–227 million years ago. There are around 5,450 species of mammals; the largest orders are the rodents and Soricomorpha. The next three are the Primates, the Cetartiodactyla, the Carnivora. In cladistics, which reflect evolution, mammals are classified as endothermic amniotes, they are the only living Synapsida. The early synapsid mammalian ancestors were sphenacodont pelycosaurs, a group that produced the non-mammalian Dimetrodon. At the end of the Carboniferous period around 300 million years ago, this group diverged from the sauropsid line that led to today's reptiles and birds; the line following the stem group Sphenacodontia split off several diverse groups of non-mammalian synapsids—sometimes referred to as mammal-like reptiles—before giving rise to the proto-mammals in the early Mesozoic era.
The modern mammalian orders arose in the Paleogene and Neogene periods of the Cenozoic era, after the extinction of non-avian dinosaurs, have been among the dominant terrestrial animal groups from 66 million years ago to the present. The basic body type is quadruped, most mammals use their four extremities for terrestrial locomotion. Mammals range in size from the 30–40 mm bumblebee bat to the 30-meter blue whale—the largest animal on the planet. Maximum lifespan varies from two years for the shrew to 211 years for the bowhead whale. All modern mammals give birth to live young, except the five species of monotremes, which are egg-laying mammals; the most species-rich group of mammals, the cohort called placentals, have a placenta, which enables the feeding of the fetus during gestation. Most mammals are intelligent, with some possessing large brains, self-awareness, tool use. Mammals can communicate and vocalize in several different ways, including the production of ultrasound, scent-marking, alarm signals and echolocation.
Mammals can organize themselves into fission-fusion societies and hierarchies—but can be solitary and territorial. Most mammals are polygynous. Domestication of many types of mammals by humans played a major role in the Neolithic revolution, resulted in farming replacing hunting and gathering as the primary source of food for humans; this led to a major restructuring of human societies from nomadic to sedentary, with more co-operation among larger and larger groups, the development of the first civilizations. Domesticated mammals provided, continue to provide, power for transport and agriculture, as well as food and leather. Mammals are hunted and raced for sport, are used as model organisms in science. Mammals have been depicted in art since Palaeolithic times, appear in literature, film and religion. Decline in numbers and extinction of many mammals is driven by human poaching and habitat destruction deforestation. Mammal classification has been through several iterations since Carl Linnaeus defined the class.
No classification system is universally accepted. George Gaylord Simpson's "Principles of Classification and a Classification of Mammals" provides systematics of mammal origins and relationships that were universally taught until the end of the 20th century. Since Simpson's classification, the paleontological record has been recalibrated, the intervening years have seen much debate and progress concerning the theoretical underpinnings of systematization itself through the new concept of cladistics. Though field work made Simpson's classification outdated, it remains the closest thing to an official classification of mammals. Most mammals, including the six most species-rich orders, belong to the placental group; the three largest orders in numbers of species are Rodentia: mice, porcupines, beavers and other gnawing mammals. The next three biggest orders, depending on the biological classification scheme used, are the Primates including the apes and lemurs. According to Mammal Species of the World, 5,416 species were identified in 2006.
These were grouped into 153 families and 29 orders. In 2008, the International Union for Conservation of Nature completed a five-year Global Mammal Assessment for its IUCN Red List, which counted 5,488 species. According to a research published in the Journal of Mammalogy in 2018, the number of recognized mammal species is 6,495 species included 96 extinct; the word "mammal" is modern, from the scientific name Mammalia coined by Carl Linnaeus in 1758, derived from the Latin mamma. In an influential 1988 paper, Timothy Rowe defined Mammalia phylogenetically as the crown group of mammals, the clade consisting of the most recent common ancestor of living monotremes and therian m
Lemuridae is a family of strepsirrhine primates native to Madagascar, the Comoros Islands. They are represented by the Lemuriformes in Madagascar with one of the highest concentration of the lemurs. One of five families known as lemurs; these animals were once thought to be the evolutionary predecessors of monkeys and apes, but this is no longer considered correct. Lemurids are medium-sized arboreal primates, ranging from 32 to 56 cm in length, excluding the tail, weighing from 0.7 to 5 kg. They have soft, woolly fur of varying coloration; the hindlegs are longer than the forelegs, although not enough to hamper quadrupedal movement. Most species are agile, leap several metres between trees, they have a good sense of binocular vision. Unlike most other lemurs, all but one species of lemurid lack a tapetum lucidum, a reflective layer in the eye that improves night vision. Among mammals, activity cycles are either diurnal or nocturnal, these can vary across species. Lemur activity has in general evolved from nocturnal to diurnal.
Some lemurs are cathemeral, an activity pattern where an animal is neither diurnal nor nocturnal. Lemurids are herbivorous, eating fruit, and, in some cases, nectar. For the most part, they have the dental formula: 18.104.22.168.1.3.3. A lemur’s diet is one, not restricted since their diet consists of frugivory, folivory, insectivory and gumnivory foods; some Subfossil records have contributed to the knowledge of the extant lemurs from the Holocene by showing the changes in their dental records in habitats near human activity. This demonstrates that lemur species such as the lemur catta and the common brown lemur were forced to switch their primary diet to a group of secondary food sources. With most lemurids, the mother gives birth to one or two young after a gestation period of between 120 and 140 days, depending on species; the ruffed lemur species are the only lemurids that have true litters, consisting of anywhere from two to six offspring. They are sociable animals, living in groups of up to thirty individuals in some species.
In some cases, such as the ring-tailed lemur, the groups are long-lasting, with distinct dominance hierarchies, while in others, such as the common brown lemur, the membership of the groups varies from day to day, seems to have no clear social structure. Some of the lemur traits include low basal metabolic rate seasonal breeders, adaptations to unpredictable climate and female dominance. Female dominance amongst lemurs is when the females are sexually monomorphic and have priority access to food. Lemurs live in groups of 11 to 17 animals, where females tend to stay within their natal groups and the males migrate. Male lemurs are competitive to win their mates. Lemurs are able to mark their territory by using scents from local areas. A number of lemur species are considered threatened; the seasonal dry deciduous forest of Madagascar alternates between dry and wet seasons, making it uniquely suitable for lemurs. This is due to high tree species diversity which are essential for survival and might be'diluted' of its resources which are of no use for lemurs, thus increasing energetic expenses for traveling between suitable patches.
Evidence from the Subfossil records show that many of the now extinct lemurs lived in much drier climates than the extant lemurs. The family Lemuridae contains 21 extant species in five genera. FAMILY LEMURIDAE Genus Lemur Ring-tailed lemur, Lemur catta Genus Eulemur, true lemurs Common brown lemur, Eulemur fulvus Sanford's brown lemur, Eulemur sanfordi White-headed lemur, Eulemur albifrons Red lemur, Eulemur rufus Red-fronted lemur, Eulemur rufifrons Collared brown lemur, Eulemur collaris Gray-headed lemur, Eulemur cinereiceps Black lemur, Eulemur macaco Blue-eyed black lemur, Eulemur flavifrons Crowned lemur, Eulemur coronatus Red-bellied lemur, Eulemur rubriventer Mongoose lemur, Eulemur mongoz Genus Varecia, ruffed lemurs Black-and-white ruffed lemur, Varecia variegata Red ruffed lemur, Varecia rubra Genus Hapalemur, bamboo lemurs Eastern lesser bamboo lemur, Hapalemur griseus Southern lesser bamboo lemur, Hapalemur meridionalis Western lesser bamboo lemur, Hapalemur occidentalis Lac Alaotra gentle lemur, Hapalemur alaotrensis Golden bamboo lemur, Hapalemur aureus Genus Prolemur Greater bamboo lemur, Prolemur simus Genus †Pachylemur †Pachylemur insignis †Pachylemur jullyiThis family was once broken into two subfamilies and Lemurinae, but molecular evidence and the similarity of the scent glands have since placed the ring-tailed lemur with the bamboo lemurs and the greater bamboo lemur.
Lemur species in the genus Eulemur are known to interbreed, despite having different chromosome numbers. Red-fronted and collared brown lemurs were found to hybridize at Madagascar. "Madagascar: Lemurs could be extinct'very soon' experts warn". The Independent. 2014-02-20. Retrieved 2015-10-29. Gender, K.. Lemurs could be extinct'very soon' experts warn; the Independent. Retrieved from https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/lemurs-could-be-extinct-very-soon-experts-warn-9142615.html "Crisis in Madagascar: 90 Percent of Lemur Species Are Threatened with Extinction". Blogs.scientificamerican.com. Retrieved 2015-10-29. "Lemur poaching on the rise due to unrest in Madagascar". Blogs.scientificamerican