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

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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Geographic Range

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

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

Physical Description

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

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. 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).

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

Food Habits

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

Ecosystem Roles

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

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

Communication and Perception

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 ; acoustic

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Life Expectancy

Lifespan/Longevity

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); 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

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
EN
Endangered

Red List Criteria
B1ab(iii,v)

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Andrainarivo, C., Andriaholinirina, V.N., Feistner, A., Felix, T., Ganzhorn, J., Garbutt, N., Golden, C., Konstant, B., Louis Jr., E., Meyers, D., Mittermeier, R.A. Perieras, A., Princee, F., Rabarivola, J.C., Rakotosamimanana, B., Rasamimanana, H., Ratsimbazafy, J., Raveloarinoro, G., Razafimanantsoa, A., Rumpler, Y., Schwitzer, C., Thalmann, U., Wilmé, L. & Wright, P.

Reviewer/s
Mittermeier, R.A. & Rylands, A.B. (Primate Red List Authority)

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Endangered as the species has a distribution range of less than 5,000 km², the range is severely fragmented, and there is continuing decline in the area and quality of habitat within the range of the species as well as in the number of mature individuals due to hunting.

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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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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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. Irwin et al. (2005) commented that the population size, if uniformly distributed, would be 5,916 individuals, but that since the species is so patchily distributed, actual population size is likely much smaller, perhaps 25% of this estimate.

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. It is known to occur in only two protected areas (Ranomafana National Park and Andringitra National Park).The entire corridor between the two existing areas has been proposed as a Conservation Site. A captive breeding programme was set up at Parc Tsimbazaza from a founder population of two individuals that have reproduced four times. However, the programme has since collapsed. Setting up a micro-propagation program to generate new stands of bamboo has been recommended as a needed conservation measure.
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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

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Hapalemur aureus has no known adverse effects on humans.

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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

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 is listed as an endangered species due to habitat loss. The population is declining, with only about 1000 individuals remaining. As its name indicates, this lemur feeds almost exclusively on grasses, especially the giant bamboo or volohosy (Cathariostachys madagascariensis).[3] 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.[4]

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.[4]

Females give birth to one infant per year and breed every year. The gestation period is about 138 days.[4]

References [edit]

  1. ^ 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. 
  2. ^ Andrainarivo, C.; Andriaholinirina, V. N.; Feistner, A.; Felix, T.; Ganzhorn, J.; Garbutt, N.; Golden, C.; Konstant, B.; Louis , E. Jr.; Meyers, D.; Mittermeier, R. A.; Perieras, A.; Princee, F.; Rabarivola, J. C.; Rakotosamimanana, B.; Rasamimanana, H.; Ratsimbazafy, J.; Raveloarinoro, G.; Razafimanantsoa, A.; Rumpler, Y.; Schwitzer, C.; Thalmann, U.; Wilmé, L.; Wright, P. (2008). Hapalemur aureus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 2012-04-07.
  3. ^ "187. Golden Bamboo Lemur (Hapalemur aureus)". Edge of Existence. Zoological Society of London. 
  4. ^ a b c "Golden Bamboo Lemur". Animal Info. 
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