Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

The golden bamboo lemur feeds on young shoots, creepers and leaf bases of the endemic giant bamboo (Cephalostachium viguieri) (4), and has evolved to be resistant to the high concentrations of cyanide found within the tissues of this plant (3). Around 500 g of bamboo are eaten every day; this represents roughly 12 times the usual mammalian lethal dose of cyanide (4). Main peaks of activity occur at dusk and dawn, but it is probably also active at some points during the night (4). It lives in family groups of between 2 to 6 individuals (5). Females give birth in November and December (3).
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Description

The critically endangered golden bamboo lemur is one of the world's most endangered mammals. It has pale orange fur on the back with grey to brown guard hairs and yellowish underparts (4). The face is black, and drawn into a short muzzle, with golden eyebrows, cheeks and throat, and short hairy ears (4). Males and females are generally similar in appearance, but females are often slightly more greyish on the back (4).
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Distribution

Found only on the island of Madagascar, Hapalemur aureus is patchily distributed through small rain forest areas in the southeast. (Meier et. al., 1987)

Biogeographic Regions: ethiopian (Native )

Other Geographic Terms: island endemic

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Range Description

This species is known from the rain forests of southeastern Madagascar, at elevations of 600-1,400 m asl, where it can be found in and around Ranomafana National Park (where discovered in 1983 and not known from north of Miaronony), Andringitra National Park (discovered in 1993), to the north-east possibly to the region of Betsakafandrika, and in a forest corridor that connects Ranomafana with Andringitra National Park (Mittermeier et al. 2008, and references therein).
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Range

Endemic to Madagascar, this species was first described by western science in 1987. It is found in the southeast of Madagascar, in Ranomafana National Park and was discovered in Andringitra Nature Reserve in 1993 (5).
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Physical Description

Morphology

About the size of a domesticated cat, H. aureus has a total body length of around 800 mm, the tail comprising half of this. Individuals weigh between 1.2 and 1.6 kg. The soft fur is of moderate length and the muzzle is short. The head is globose and ears are short and hairy but not tufted. The face is black with golden-yellow eyebrows, cheeks and throat. Underparts are yellow, although dorsally there are grey-brown guardhairs with underfur of pale orange. There is no obvious sexual dichromatism, although females tend to be more greyish dorsally.

(Meier et. al., 1987; Harcourt, 1990)

Range mass: 1.2 to 1.6 kg.

Average length: 800 mm.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike

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Ecology

Habitat

Madagascar Subhumid Forests Habitat

The Lac Alaotra bamboo lemur (Hapalemur griseus aloatrensis) is strictly endemic to the Madagascar subhumid forests ecoregion. This ecoregion, coveris most of the Central Highlands of Madagascar, and boasts a considerable number of endemic species, found chiefly in the relict forest patches and also in some wetland areas. The rainfall here is approximately 1500 mm per year, although it may amount to as much as 2000 mm in the Sambirano area in the northwest and as little as 600 mm in the southwest.

The underlying geology of the ecoregion is mainly ancient Precambrian basement rocks that have been deformed and uplifted over millions of years. There are a few areas of more recent lava flows, and some alluvial deposits associated with wetlands. Vast grasslands now cover much of the central highlands at elevations ranging from 1000 to 1500 metres. The majority of this upland area was formerly forested, and native peoples have affected the fauna and flora through massive deforestation.

Many mammalian taxa are endemic to this ecoregion, including a number of lemurs and numerous shrews, tenrecs and rodents. A far larger number of species are near endemic, with the majority of these shared with the lowland forests to the east. At least 45 species of mammals are found only in the subhumid forest ecoregion and the lowland forest ecoregion of Madagascar and these include, for example, two species of bamboo lemurs (Hapalemur aureus and H. simus).

Of the endemic and near-endemic mammal species in the ecoregion, 12 species listed are on the IUCN Red List; nine species are considered vulnerable; two are endangered and one (the Alaotran gentle lemur) is critical. In the Analavelona forest a species of small mammal was recently discovered, Microgale nasoloi, that is only known from this site and the nearby Zombitse-Vohibasia Forest, the latter being classified in the Madagascar succulent woodlands ecoregion. In addition to the large number of mammalian endemics, there are many special status mammals in the ecoregion, including the Vulnerable Aquatic tenrec (Limnogale mergulus); the Near Threatened Aye aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis);

Two endemic bird species are found in the wetlands of this ecoregion, and others are confined to the subhumid forests or shared with other Madagascar ecoregions. In the wetlands, both the Alaotra little grebe (Tachybaptus rufolavatus) and the Madagascar pochard (Aythya innotata), are considered critically endangered and may be extinct. In the forests the endemic species include, for example, a new genus and species only named a few years ago called the cryptic warbler (Cryptosylvicola randrianasoloi), the yellow-browed oxylabes (Crossleyia xanthophrys), and the brown emutail (Dromaeocercus brunneus). Several other species of birds found here are limited to marshland habitats on Madagascar, including the slender-billed flufftail (Sarothrura watersi), Madagascar snipe (Gallinago macrodactyla), and Madagascar rail (Rallus madagascariensis). Further, Appert’s greenbul (Xanthomixis apperti), an endemic species with a very limited geographical distribution, is abundant on the upper reaches of the Analavelona Massif. More than 20 other bird species that occur in the subhumid forests of this ecoregion are shared only with the eastern lowland forests ecoregion.

The Madagascar subhumid forests hold more than twenty strictly endemic amphibians. Several groups of amphibians include more than one endemic species, such as the microhylids Rhombophryne testudo, Scaphiophryne goettliebi, the mantellids Vulnerable Elegant Madagascar frog (Spinomantis elegans); Mantella crocea, M. cowani, M. eiselti, Mantidactylus domerguei, and the Near Threatened Decary's Madagascar frog (Gephiyromantis decaryi); and the rhacophorids Boophis laurenti and B. microtympanum. Other notable amphibian endemics include:the Benavony stump-toed frog (Stumpffia gimmeli)/

There are a number of special status amphibians in the ecoregion including the Near Threatened Ambohimitombo bright-eyed frog (Boophis majori); the Vulnerable Andoany stump-toed frog (Stumpffia pygmaea); the Endangered Andringitra Madagascar Frog (Mantidactylus madecassus); and the Near Threatened Betsileo Bright-eyed Frog (Boophis rhodoscelis).

There are at least 25 strictly endemic reptiles in this ecoregion. These numbers include historically described species as well as newly identified taxa. Numerous speciess of chameleon and dwarf chameleon only occur in this ecoregion, including Calumma oshaughnessyi ambreensis, C. tsaratananensis, Furcifer petteri, Brookesia ambreesis, B. antakarana, B. lineata, and B. lolontany in the northern and northwestern portion; and C. fallax, F. campani, and F. minor in the central and southern portions. Otpher lizard species endemic to the ecoregion include the skinks Mabuya grnadidieri, M. madagascariensis, M. nancycoutouae, Amphiglossus meva, and Androngo crenni; the geckos Lygodactylus blanciL. decaryi and Phelsuma klemmeri, and the Plated lizard Zonosaurus ornatus. There are also a few endemic species of snakes including Pseudoxyrhopus ankafinensis, Liopholidophis grandidieri, and L. sexlineatus.


  • Du Puy, D.J. and Moat, J. 1996. A refined classification of the primary vegetation of Madagascar based on the underlying geology: using GIS to map its distribution and to assess its conservation status. In W.R. Lourenço (editor). Biogéographie de Madagascar, pp. 205-218, + 3 maps. Editions de l’ORSTOM, Paris. ISBN: 2709913240
  • World Wildlife Fund and C.MIchael Hogan/. 2015. Madagascar subhumid forests. Encyclopedia of Earth. National Council for Science and Environment. Washington DC
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Hapalemur aureus is found only in rain forest. Distribution of these animals is closely linked with bamboo (Glander, et. al, 1989).

Habitat Regions: tropical ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: rainforest

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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It is found in humid forests and marshes with bamboo and reeds. The Golden Bamboo Lemur is a diurnal species with a distinct midday rest period. It lives in small groups, usually of three to four individuals, that maintain home ranges of up 30 ha. Females typically give birth to a single young in November and December after a gestation of about 138 days. The young are born in an altricial state and are kept safe in dense vegetation for the first two weeks of life. Based on studies at Ranomafana National Park, as much as 90% of this lemur’s diet may consist of bamboo, the majority of which is the giant bamboo (Cathariostachys madagascariensis) (Mittermeier et al. 2008, and references therein). Glander et al. (1989) found astonishingly high levels of cyanide in the shoots of giant bamboo as well as in the blood and feces of the golden bamboo lemur, and suggest that similar levels in the diets of other mammals would be lethal. Presumably, this tolerance to dietary toxins allows H.aureus to live in sympatry with three other bamboo-eating lemurs, H. meridionalis, H. g. ranomafanensis and Prolemur simus, all of which appear to avoid either plant species or plant parts with high cyanide levels (Wright and Randrimanantena 1989.)

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Inhabits forests that contain giant bamboo, Cephalostachium viguieri (3).
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Trophic Strategy

An herbivore, H. aureus feeds almost exclusively on plants from the family Gramineae, primarily on endemic giant bamboo, Cephalostachium viguieri, but also on bamboo creeper and bamboo grass. These lemurs eat the shoots, leaf bases, pith and viny parts of these bamboos.

Chemical analysis has shown that the soft stalks and growing tips that Hapalemur prefers, which are ignored by the other lemurs, are very high in protein as well as cyanide. Golden bamboo lemurs eat about 500 g of bamboo each day, which contains 12 times the amount of cyanide lethal to most animals.

(Meier et. al., 1987; Glander et. al., 1989)

Plant Foods: leaves

Primary Diet: herbivore (Folivore )

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Associations

The ecosystem roles of these animals are not well understood. As herbivores, they may impact the plant community. As potential prey items, these lemurs may help to structure local food webs.

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Predation on these animals has not been reported. However, likely predators include humans, fossas, and raptors.

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Hapalemur aureus is social, and like other primates has complicated forms of communication. Scent marking apparently occurs, based on morphological study of scent glands on wrists, indicating that these animals use chemical communication. They also communicate with vocalizations and visual signals, such as facial expressions and body postures. Finally, tactile communication (grooming, playing, aggression) is likely to be important to these animals as well.

(Nowak, 1999)

Communication Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

Other Communication Modes: scent marks

Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

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Life Expectancy

Data on the longevity of H. aureus are not available. However, another member of the genus, H. griseus is reported to have lived longer than 17 years in captivity. Hapalemur aureus is probably similarly long-lived.

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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Observations: Little is known about the longevity of these animals, but one 11.4 year old specimen was still alive in captivity (Richard Weigl 2005).
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Reproduction

These animals appear to live in small family groups with a single adult male and one or two adult females. This indicates that H. aureus breeds either monogamously or polygynously. (Nowak, 1999)

Mating System: monogamous ; polygynous

The only observed breeding of this species was that of the pair taken into captivity at Parc Tsimbazaza in 1987, which has sucessfully bred four times, with three of the young surviving.

(Harcourt, 1990)

The following data on reproduction come from another member of the same genus, Hapalemur griseus, to which H. aureus may bear some similarity.

Hapalemur griseus gives birth to one or two young in October to February. As the gestation period of this species is 135 to 150 days in length, we may assume that mating occurs from May through September. In captivity, a newborn of this species weighed 32 g. It was initially carried ventrally by the mother, but later rode on her back. Weaning in H. griseus occurs around 20 weeks of age.

Breeding interval: It seems likely that these lemurs would be like other members of the family, and that they would breed annually.

Breeding season: The breeding season of these animals has not been documented.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization ; viviparous

Parental behaviors have not been reported for these lemurs. It is likely that the bulk of care for young is provided by the mother, who grooms, protects, and feeds her young.

Parental Investment: altricial ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female)

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Conservation

Conservation Status

This extremely rare species is thought to have a total population of only 200 to 400 individuals. All populations are highly endangered by habitat destruction, particularly from slash and burn agriculture and timber exploitation, and may well become extinct. Listed in Appendix A of CITES, Class A of the African Convention and protected by Malagasy law, golden bamboo lemurs and their products are subject to strict regulation. This species may not be hunted, killed or captured, but it is difficult to enforce this protection.

(Meier et. al., 1987; Harcourt, 1990)

US Federal List: endangered

CITES: appendix i

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: endangered

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
CR
Critically Endangered

Red List Criteria
C2a(i)

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2014

Assessor/s
Andriaholinirina, N., Baden, A., Blanco, M., Chikhi, L., Cooke, A., Davies, N., Dolch, R., Donati, G., Ganzhorn, J., Golden, C., Groeneveld, L.F., Hapke, A., Irwin, M., Johnson, S., Kappeler, P., King, T., Lewis, R., Louis, E.E., Markolf, M., Mass, V., Mittermeier, R.A., Nichols, R., Patel, E., Rabarivola, C.J., Raharivololona, B., Rajaobelina, S., Rakotoarisoa, G., Rakotomanga, B., Rakotonanahary, J., Rakotondrainibe, H., Rakotondratsimba, G., Rakotondratsimba, M., Rakotonirina, L., Ralainasolo, F.B., Ralison, J., Ramahaleo, T., Ranaivoarisoa, J.F., Randrianahaleo, S.I., Randrianambinina, B., Randrianarimanana, L., Randrianasolo, H., Randriatahina, G., Rasamimananana, H., Rasolofoharivelo, T., Rasoloharijaona, S., Ratelolahy, F., Ratsimbazafy, J., Ratsimbazafy, N., Razafindraibe, H., Razafindramanana, J., Rowe, N., Salmona, J., Seiler, M., Volampeno, S., Wright, P., Youssouf, J., Zaonarivelo, J. & Zaramody, A.

Reviewer/s
Schwitzer, C. & Molur, S.

Contributor/s

Justification

This species has a very small remaining population size. The number of mature individuals is <250 and is continuing in decline. The number of mature individuals in each subpopulation is <50. Based on these premises, the species is listed as Critically Endangered.


History
  • 2000
    Critically Endangered
  • 1996
    Critically Endangered
    (Baillie and Groombridge 1996)
  • 1996
    Critically Endangered
  • 1994
    Endangered
    (Groombridge 1994)
  • 1990
    Endangered
    (IUCN 1990)
  • 1990
    Endangered
    (IUCN 1990)
  • 1988
    Indeterminate
    (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
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Status

Classified as Critically Endangered (CR- A2cd) in the IUCN Red List 2002 (1), listed in Appendix I of CITES (7).
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Population

Population
This species has a patchy distribution and typically occurs at low densities. Estimated density is 0.21 individuals/km2 with a total estimated population of 69 within Ranomafana National Park. These data are based on over a hundred transect surveys from 2004 to 2009. An estimated 630 individuals remain in total, with less than 250 mature individuals. Population numbers are in decline due to habitat loss and hunting.

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
The major threat is habitat loss due to slash-and-burn agriculture and harvesting for bamboo for building houses, carrying water, making baskets and other local uses. Hunting is also a threat in some parts of the range.
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This lemur is mainly threatened by habitat loss through slash-and-burn agriculture (3), although it may also be under threat from hunting for food and for the pet trade (5). Recent estimates believe that there are under 400 individuals remaining in the wild (4).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
This species is listed on Appendix I of CITES. This species has a notably small and patchy distribution and typically occurs at low population densities. It is known to occur in two national parks (Andringitra and Ranomafana). The Ranomafana / Andringitra forest corridor has been proposed as a conservation unit in conjunction with efforts to propagate and re-establish stands of bamboo varieties that serve as food for this species. In 2005 the total world population was estimated at probably less than 2,500. As of 2010, this species was not being kept in captivity (ISIS 2009; E.E. Louis Jr. pers. comm.).




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Conservation

In 1991, three areas of land around the village of Ranomafana were designated as Ranomafana National Park. Furthermore, the area in Andringitra that supports this species is a strict nature reserve and made the transition to a National Park in October 1999 (6). The species within these areas are therefore afforded a degree of protection (5), but slash-and-burn agriculture is encroaching at the park boundaries (3). Although Malagasey law forbids the hunting, killing and capturing of all lemurs (4), problems may still arise as the law is difficult to enforce (5). At present there is a very small captive population in Madagascar, but there is no co-ordinated breeding programme (5).
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Hapalemur aureus has no known adverse effects on humans.

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These lemurs are of great interest to the scientific community.

Positive Impacts: research and education

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Wikipedia

Golden bamboo lemur

The golden bamboo lemur (Hapalemur aureus, Malagasy bokombolomena) is a medium-sized bamboo lemur endemic to southeastern Madagascar. It was discovered in 1986 by Dr. Patricia Wright, in what is now Ranomafana National Park. The park was opened in 1991 to protect this endangered lemur, as well as several other lemur species and other flora and fauna.

It is listed as an endangered species due to habitat loss. The population is declining, with only about 1,000 individuals remaining. As its name indicates, this lemur feeds almost exclusively on grasses, especially the giant bamboo or volohosy (Cathariostachys madagascariensis).[4] The growing shoots of this bamboo contain 0.015% (1 part in 6667) of cyanide. Each adult lemur eats about 500 g (18 oz) of bamboo per day, which contain about 12 times the lethal dose of cyanide for most other animals of this size.[5]

The golden bamboo lemur is crepuscular. It is 28–45 cm long plus a tail of 24–40 cm, and weighs on average 1.6 kg.[5]

Females give birth to one infant per year and breed every year. The gestation period is about 138 days.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Andriaholinirina, N. et al. (2014). "Hapalemur aureus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 2014-06-16. 
  2. ^ "Checklist of CITES Species". CITES. UNEP-WCMC. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  3. ^ Groves, C. P. (2005). "Hapalemur aureus". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 116. OCLC 62265494. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. 
  4. ^ "187. Golden Bamboo Lemur (Hapalemur aureus)". Edge of Existence. Zoological Society of London. 
  5. ^ a b c "Golden Bamboo Lemur". Animal Info. 
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