Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

The basic social group of the western woolly lemur consists of a monogamous breeding pair and their offspring (2) (5). A single offspring is usually born between September and October after a gestation period of 120 to 150 days, and juveniles may remain with their natal group until up to two years of age (2) (5). Family units occupy overlapping home ranges of two hectares and territories are defended and demarcated via calls (2). Almost exclusively nocturnal, the western woolly lemur becomes active around dusk. The family unit largely stays together while foraging. The bulk of the diet consists of young leaves and buds taken from at least 20 different plant species (2). This folivorous diet is, however, highly specialized, including tree species that are relatively rare (6).
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Description

Western woolly lemurs are medium sized lemurs that, like all indriids, are characterized by long powerful hind limbs adapted to their specialized mode of locomotion: vertical clinging and leaping (2) (3). The dense and woolly coat is pale grey on the underparts and throat and medium-grey on the upper parts, with tinges of sandy brown on the back and tail. The face is rounded and pale with a dark muzzle. Although similar in overall appearance to its eastern relative, the eastern woolly lemur (Avahi laniger), the western woolly lemur is smaller in size and much paler (2).
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Distribution

Range Description

This species is endemic to the island of Madagascar. According to Thalmann and Geissmann (2000), the core distribution is to the north and east of the Betsiboka River as far as Bay of Narindra, and this is the species present in Ankarafantsika National Park. They consider that the isolated population much farther north in the Ankarana region also represents this species, but that in between A. unicolor inhabits both the Ampasindava Peninsula and the Sambirano region, including the Manongarivo Special Reserve. Also recorded from Mariarano Classified Forest (E. Louis pers. comm.).
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Range

Restricted to fragmented areas of western and north-western Madagascar (2). The population in Bemaraha, traditionally classed as Avahi occidentalis, has recently been reclassified as a distinct species, Avahi cleesei (4).
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It is found in dry deciduous forests, including secondary forest. They are specialized folivores, active at night, and living in family groups.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Found in dry deciduous forests and moist forests in the Sambirano region (2). Predominantly arboreal, most often found in the canopy (5).
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
EN
Endangered

Red List Criteria
B1ab(iii)

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.

History
  • 2000
    Vulnerable
  • 1996
    Vulnerable
  • 1990
    Vulnerable
    (IUCN 1990)
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Status

Classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List (1).
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Population

Population
Locally found at high densities. Ganzhorn (1988) estimated population densities in Ankarafantsika at 67 individuals/km².

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
The major threat is forest destruction due to annual burning that creates new cattle pasture. There may be some localized hunting, but this is probably not a major threat.
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15 species of lemur have become extinct since sea-faring humans arrived on Madagascar's shores around 2,000 years ago, and humanity is still wreaking ecological destruction on the island (7). Habitat destruction through forest felling and burning poses the principle threat to the biodiversity on Madagascar, including the western woolly lemur (2). Small-scale but widespread clearing of forests is conducted for firewood, cattle grazing, charcoal production, and construction materials. In the dry season people often set brush fires to clear pasture for cattle but the fires frequently burn out of control and threaten protected areas (8). Hunting also occurs in some regions. These factors, coupled with the species' restricted range, give cause for concern (2).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
This species is listed on Appendix I of CITES. This species occurs in the Ankarafantsika National Park, and in Mariarano Classified Forest. Further research on population numbers and distribution is requireds. Consideration should be given to improving the protected areas status of Mariarano Classified Forest, which is already very well protected by the local people.
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Conservation

The western woolly lemur is confirmed in only two protected areas, Ankarafantsika Nature Reserve and Manongarivo Special Reserve, although this species has also been reported in Ankarana Special Reserve (2) (4). It has so far been impossible to keep western woolly monkeys in captivity, probably because of their highly selective folivorous diet. It appears, therefore, that conservation of forests in situ where this species occurs is the best viable option of protecting the western woolly lemur (6).
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Wikipedia

Western woolly lemur

The western woolly lemur or western avahi (Avahi occidentalis) is a species of woolly lemur native to western Madagascar, where they live in dry deciduous forests. These nocturnal animals weigh 0.7-0.9 kg. It is a folivorous species.

The western woolly lemurs live in monogamous pairs together with their offspring.

Ecology[edit]

The Western woolly lemur mostly consumes leaves and buds that derive from around 20 different plants which have not matured and have high levels of sugars and proteins.[3][4] The food is typically consumed within the time frame of two hours before dawn and two hours after dusk, in which the lemurs consume their food at the tops of trees ranging between 2 and 9 metres. During feeding time, lemurs typically settle on thinner branches unless the tree itself is too small to support the animal's weight. Most likely due to the lemur's folivorous diet, Western woolly lemurs spend large amounts of time resting in order to conserve energy.[3]

Conservation[edit]

Because the Avahi as a species is highly selective in their folivorous diet, depending on plants with specific characteristics, it is hard to keep Avahi in captivity. Therefore, one of the primary and most general ways of conserving the species is to conserve the forests in which Avahi are currently found.[4][5]

Taxonomy[edit]

According to Tholmann and Geissmann(2000) there are three distinct forms of the Western Woolly Lemur: Bemaraha, Avahi Occidentalis, and Avahi Unicolor.[5]

Bemaraha[edit]

The Bemaraha sub-species of the Avahi is found in Eastern Madagascar, near the village of Ambalarano. Its face is slightly more pale than its upper head, and the area above the nose extends to the forehead to contrast with the triangular pattern created by the forehead fur (also present in the other forms of Western Avahi—A. occidentalis and A. Unicolor). The fur that borders the face is a black tone and forms a dark pattern in the shape of a line or stripe that is resembles the letter "V". Its eyes are a maroon color with black eyelids, and the snout is black and hairless, while the corners of the mouth have a white tone. The fur on the head and body is a brown-gray color and has a slightly curled/freckled appearance. Its tail is beige or brownish-gray in color, and slightly red on the dorsal side of the base. The surface color of the lower limbs of the Bemaraha is white, while the chest, belly, and inner area of the upper limbs is a light gray color with relatively thin fur.[5]

Avahi occidentalis[edit]

The Avahi occidentalis sub-species are located Northeast of Bombetoka Bay, in Northwestern Madagascar. Its facial fur is white, white-grey, or cream, and forms an outline that contrasts with its surrounding facial features. There is a small darker spot of fur above the nose within the facial outline, and the light facial hair extends below the ears. The eyes have a yellow-brown tint and are surrounded by a circle of black, hairless skin. The nose is black and hairless, and the hair surrounding the nose has a white tint. Its head and body is a brown-grey or yellowish brown color, and the fur is lightly curled and may appear freckled (some may have a darker color along the back). The tail is pale gray or has tints of greyish-beige, but can also have tints of red, and occasionally, some will have a white tip. On the chest, belly, and inner parts of the body, the fur is fairly thin, light beige, cream, or of an apricot color.[5]

Avahi Unicolor[edit]

The Avahi Unicolor sub-species are located in Cacamba, on the peninsula of Ampasindava, in Northwestern Madagascar . This sub-species is distinguished form the Avahi occidentalis by its lack of the white facial outline and the lack of the black hairless circles that surround the eyes . The face itself is slightly more pale than the upper head which creates a slight contrasting facial outline caused by the fur length and consistency (facial hair is short and not curled in comparison to the rest of the body) . The contrasting facial outline has a small fur spot above the nose and the forehead that presents the appearance of a dark line . Its eyes are maroon with black, hairless eyelids. The snout is also black and hairless, but the corners of the mouth have a white tint. The fur of the head and body is a light gray-beige, and has a sightly curled, freckled appearance. Its tail is gray-brown or reddish-brown, while the base is a pale brown or cream color. The back is slightly darker in the shoulder-blade area. The lower body's limbs are an off-white color, while the fur on the chest, belly, and inner limbs is fairly thin and light-gray in color.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Groves, C. P. (2005). Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M, eds. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 119. OCLC 62265494. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. 
  2. ^ 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. (2014). "Avahi occidentalis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 2014-06-15. 
  3. ^ a b The Primata. (2007) "Western Woolly Lemur (Avahi occidentalis)". Retrieved 2 April 2013.
  4. ^ a b Arkive. (n.d.) "Western Woolly Lemur (Avahi occidentalis)". Retrieved 3 April 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d e Thelmann, U. & Geissmann, T. (2000). "Distribution and geographic variation in the western woolly lemur (avahi occidentalis) with description of a new species (a. unicolor)", "International Journal of Primatology 21 (6). Retrieved on 3 April 2013.
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