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Red-fronted Lemur

Eulemur rufifrons

redfrontedThe red-fronted lemur inhabits a long stretch of western Madagascar’s dry forest, as well as a much smaller portion of southeast Madagascar rain forest. This subspecies is sexually dichromatic and the sexes are easily distinguished from each other. In the west, the red-fronted lemur is found from the Betsiboka River south to the Fiherenana river near Tulear. In the east, the range of this lemur is not well established, but more than likely extends from the Mangoro River south to the Andringitra massif. A small population has also been introduced into the Berenty Private Reserve in southern Madagscar. Group size averages eight to ten individuals, and as the group moves through the forest, they stay together by way of a regular series of grunts and contact calls. The diet of the red-fronted brown lemur varies with the season and the habitat, but it is generally dominated by fruit. In some areas, these lemurs are important agents for seed dispersal. The red-fronted lemur is protected in at least ten Madagascar reserves and is not thought to be seriously threatened.

Fact Sheet

Order: Primates; Suborder: Prosimii

Family: Lemuridae; Genus: Eulemur

Species: rufifrons

Key Facts

Adult Size : 4.4 – 5.3 pounds

Social life : Sociable, permanent groups of 4 – 18 animals, average of 7 – 8

Habitat : southeastern moist forest

Diet : leaves, pods, stems, flowers, bark and sap of the kily tree (Tamarindus indica)

Lifespan : 20 – 25 years in the wild

Sexual maturity : 2 years

Mating : very seasonal throughout June

Gestation : approximately 120 days, infants are born between September and October

Number of young : one per year

DLC Naming theme : Red-related names (Flare, Cardinal, Sparky, etc.)

Malagasy names : Varika, Varikamavo

Interesting Facts

Red-fronted lemurs are one of the few lemur species that is not female dominant.

Red-fronted lemurs are sexually dichromatic: males are gray to gray-brown, and females are reddish-brown. Both sexes have pale patches over their eyes, and the males have a reddish crown.

The DLC maintains 1 male and 1 female.

Note: The status of E. rufifrons in captivity is difficult to determine, owing to taxonomic confusion with E. rufus (see Lemurs of Madagascar, Mittermeier et al, 2010). The lemurs in the DLC’s collection – 2 animals in the current colony, 169 total in the historic colony – are most likely some combination of the two species. At this point, it cannot be said in all cases which individuals are purely one or the other and which individuals are hybrids. The DLC has three founders that can be identified as E. rufifrons based on capture location. However, because of the unknown capture location of the additional founders that came via other institutions, the taxonomic status of any individuals that did not descend solely from those first three cannot be determined.

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