Discover

Red-fronted Lemur


Eulemur rufifrons

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

This species is sexually dichromatic and the sexes are easily distinguished from each other: 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 red-fronted lemur is protected in at least ten Madagascar reserves and is classified as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Sexual Dichromatism

Red-fronted lemurs are sexually dichromatic (different coloration in males vs. females) and the sexes are easily distinguished from each other. 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.

Pictured: adult female red-fronted lemur with female infant (left); and adult male red-fronted lemur (right)

Feeding

The diet of the red-fronted brown lemur varies with the season and the habitat. In the west, red-fronted lemurs' diets are more folivorous, including leaves, stems, bark, and sap; in the east, their diets are dominated by fruit. In some areas, these lemurs are important agents for seed dispersal.

Social Behavior

Red-fronted lemurs live in sociable, permanent groups of four to 18 animals. 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.

Habitat + Range

The 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. 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.

Conservation

The red-fronted lemur is classified as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Primary threats include habitat loss, hunting, and trapping. According to the IUCN, the red-fronted lemur is one of the most commonly hunted lemurs in all of Madagascar.

Although the red-fronted lemur is protected in at least ten Madagascar reserves, its wild population is decreasing.

Basic Facts

Adult size : 4.4 – 5.3 pounds

Social life : sociable, permanent groups of 4 to 18 animals (average of 7 to 8)

Habitat : southeastern moist forest

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, Redbay, Sparky, etc.)

Number of red-fronted lemurs currently living at the DLC: two, one male and one female. Historically, the DLC has housed 169 red-fronted lemurs.

Malagasy names : varika, varikamavo

E. rufifrons vs. E. rufus

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.

Discover

Research

Protect

Conservation

Engage

Tours + Education

Explore

Madagascar