KINGDOM: Animalia (Animals)
PHYLUM: Chordata (Possessing a notochord)
CLASS: Mammalia (Mammals)
FAMILY: Lemuridae (Lemurs)
SUB-FAMILY: Lemurinae (Lemurs)
GENUS: Eulemur (True Lemurs)
SPECIES: Eulemur fulvus (Common Brown Lemur)
Common brown lemurs are endemic to north-werstern Madagascar. In the west, they can be found north of the Betsiboko River; in Eastern Madagascar, north of the Mangoro River to the Onive River; and a small population can be found in Ambohitantely Special Reserve. They can also be found on the island of Mayotte.
Common brown lemurs have dense, short coats which are brown or grey-brown, being slightly lighter on their undersides. Their face, muzzle and crown are dark-grey or black and they have paler fur around the ears, cheeks, chin and eyebrow patches. The eyes are a rich orange-red. The common brown lemur is a medium-sized lemur species.
These lemurs inhabit tropical/sub-tropical dry as well as the tropical moist lowlands and motane forests. They spend most of their time high up in the canopy of the forests they inhabit.
Common brown lemurs are mainly folivores (leaf eaters), but also eat fruit and flowers. They may also supplement their diet with bark, sap, soil, insects, centipedes and millipedes according to seasonal availability of fruit and leaves. Common brown lemurs don’t drink often, as they get most of the moisture they need from leaves.
They will form mixed sex groups, generally consisting of about 3-12 individuals and usually without a noticeable hierarcy. Groups as big as 29 individuals have been recorded on Mayotte. When a social hierarcy is present in a group, females tend to be dominant! The home range of common brown lemurs can be anywhere from 17 to 50 acres big! Common brown lemurs have special scent glands on their wrists that help them communicate.
It is unsure whether this species is monagamous or polygamous. The common brown lemur’s mating season is during the months of May and June, and after a gestation period of only 120 days, one or two young will be born.
Baby common brown lemurs will be carried on their mother’s belly for approximately three weeks, after which they will be carried on the mother’s back. They will be weaned after 6-7 months and reach sexual maturity at the age of 1-2 years. Their lifespan in the wild is believed to be between 20 and 25 years!
The common brown lemur is preyed upon by fossa, hawks, snakes and humans. Habitat loss due to forest destruction is the greatest threat to the common brown lemur. Much of their habitat is destroyed by slash-and-burn agriculture and trees are cut down for construction and fuel. Throughout their range, they are also hunted for food, as well as the pet trade.
Did you know?
- These lemurs are quadrupedal and can leap considerable distances with the aid of their tails for balance
- Common brown lemurs have opposable thumbs to help with grip!
- The name “lemur” means “ghost” in Latin. Early explorers thought ghosts were calling in the forest!
- The common brown lemur is a very timid, shy and quiet lemur species