The name 'sportive' came about owing to this species' interesting habit of adopting a boxer-like stance when threatened (1). Northern sportive lemurs are one of the smallest of the Lepilemurs and have pale grey-brown backs with a darker line that runs from the head down to the tail. There is some brown around the top of the head and around their shoulders, and their undersides are grey (2). With both eyes facing forwards they have excellent binocular vision (5). They are arboreal and nocturnal and move from tree to tree by leaping. They adopt a vertical posture, clinging to the tree with pads on their hands and feet (5). They then leap in this upright position (6).