Lepilemuridae is a family of primates containing the sportive lemurs (genus Lepilemur). Groves (2001) argued that Lepilemur should be classified alongside the extinct giant lemur genus Megaladapis in the family Megaladapidae. However, genetic studies have since led most experts to separate the sportive lemurs from the extinct giant lemurs, thus recognizing Lepilemuridae as separate from Megaladapidae. (Wilson & Reeder, 2005; Mittermeier et al., 2006).
As is common to all lemur species, sportive lemurs are native to Madagascar. The following family description is modified from Mittermeier et al. (2006): Sportive lemurs are medium-sized, mostly folivorous, and nocturnal. Lepilemur has a face covered with short hair, generally weighs less than 1 kg, and is approximately 1/2 m in length, including the tail. Sportive lemurs might be confused with Avahi genus, though sportive lemurs are smaller in size, have more prominent ears, and do not have the visible white patches on the back of the thighs typical of Avahi. Lepilemur will huddle with other individuals at daytime sleeping sites, but rarely will exhibit this behavior at night. Lepilemur is a vertical clinger and leaper with a characteristic single loud scream that is uncommon for a nocturnal lemur species. Sportive lemurs are the smallest folivorous primates (Smith and Jungers, 1997).
- Groves, Colin. Primate Taxonomy. Smithsonian Books, 2001. http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=citeulike09-20&path=ASIN/156098872X.
- Mittermeier, Russell A, Stephen D Nash, and Conservation International. Lemurs of Madagascar. Arlington, Va.: Conservation International, 2006.
- Smith, Richard J., and William L. Jungers. “Body Mass in Comparative Primatology.” Journal of Human Evolution 32, no. 6 (June 1997): 523–559. doi:10.1006/jhev.1996.0122.
- Wilson, D.E., and D.A.M. Reeder. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. Mammal Species of the World. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005. http://www.google.com/books?id=JgAMbNSt8ikC.
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