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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

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Maximum longevity: 23.2 years (captivity) Observations: This animal has been argued as an example of a fast ageing primate (Austad 1997). One captive specimen lived for 23.2 years (Richard Weigl 2005).
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Reproduction

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Females have an estrous cycle which lasts about 20 days. During this time males compete fiercely for the estrous females. Social groups consist of a mated female and male and offspring from previous breeding efforts. Despite this apparently monogamous structure, approximately 40% of young are fathered by a different male.

Mating System: monogamous ; polygynandrous (promiscuous)

Fat-tailed dwarf lemurs begin mating near the end of November, when they emerge from their winter torpor. The gestation period is approximately 61 days and 1 to 4 young are born, although twins are most common. Fat-tailed dwarf lemurs become sexually mature in their second year of life.

Breeding interval: Fat-tailed dwarf lemurs breed once a year.

Breeding season: Fat-tailed dwarf lemurs begin mating at the end of November.

Range number of offspring: 1 to 4.

Average number of offspring: 2.

Average gestation period: 61 days.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 2 years.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 2 years.

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

Average birth mass: 19 g.

Average gestation period: 61 days.

Average number of offspring: 2.5.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
Sex: female:
365 days.

Fat-tailed dwarf lemur females care for their young by nursing them and protecting them until they are independent. Young are born well-developed, fully furred and with their eyes open. Both females and male participate in caring for the young.

Parental Investment: altricial ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Male, Female); pre-independence (Protecting: Male, Female); post-independence association with parents

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Older, K. 2008. "Cheirogaleus medius" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Cheirogaleus_medius.html
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Kevin F. Older, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Tanya Dewey, Animal Diversity Web
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Behavior

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Fat-tailed dwarf lemurs are relatively quiet animals. They do have a few weak calls for contact and a louder cry in agonistic situations. They use fecal scent marks to mark territories.

Communication Channels: acoustic ; chemical

Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

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Older, K. 2008. "Cheirogaleus medius" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Cheirogaleus_medius.html
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Kevin F. Older, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Tanya Dewey, Animal Diversity Web
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Conservation Status

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Fat-tailed dwarf lemurs are currently listed as lower risk/least concern by the IUCN. They are considered endangered by the U.S. Endangered Species Act and on Appendix I of CITES by virtue of being in the family Cheirogaleidae. They are fairly widespread and abundant currently and populations are protected in 4 national parks.

US Federal List: endangered

CITES: appendix i

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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Older, K. 2008. "Cheirogaleus medius" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Cheirogaleus_medius.html
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Kevin F. Older, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Tanya Dewey, Animal Diversity Web
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Benefits

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There are no known negative impacts of Cheirogaleus medius on humans.

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Older, K. 2008. "Cheirogaleus medius" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Cheirogaleus_medius.html
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Kevin F. Older, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Tanya Dewey, Animal Diversity Web
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Benefits

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Since these animals are confined to only the island of Madagascar their economic importance to humans is extremely little, if their is any at all.

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Older, K. 2008. "Cheirogaleus medius" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Cheirogaleus_medius.html
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Kevin F. Older, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Tanya Dewey, Animal Diversity Web
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Associations

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Fat-tailed dwarf lemurs may play a role in seed dispersal in the forests they inhabit. They are also important prey for medium sized carnivores.

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Older, K. 2008. "Cheirogaleus medius" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Cheirogaleus_medius.html
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Kevin F. Older, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Tanya Dewey, Animal Diversity Web
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Trophic Strategy

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Fat-tailed dwarf lemurs are predominantly frugivores, but they also feed on flowers, seeds, nectar and insects. They take small vertebrates occasionally. During the wet season fat-tailed dwarf lemurs store fat in their tails in preparation for their dry season aestivation. Just before aestivation they begin to incorporate higher quantities of fruit in their diet.

Animal Foods: reptiles; insects

Plant Foods: seeds, grains, and nuts; fruit; nectar; flowers; sap or other plant fluids

Primary Diet: herbivore (Frugivore , Granivore )

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Older, K. 2008. "Cheirogaleus medius" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Cheirogaleus_medius.html
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Kevin F. Older, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Tanya Dewey, Animal Diversity Web
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Distribution

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Fat-tailed dwarf lemurs are found in the dry forests of western Madagascar and south to the southern tip of Madagascar, where their range extends into moist evergreen forest habitats.

Biogeographic Regions: ethiopian (Native )

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Older, K. 2008. "Cheirogaleus medius" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Cheirogaleus_medius.html
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Kevin F. Older, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Tanya Dewey, Animal Diversity Web
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Habitat

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Fat-tailed dwarf lemurs inhabit dry deciduous forests and thorn scrub forests in western Madagascar. Their range extends to southeastern Madagascar, where they inhabit moist evergreen forests. They are seen on thick and medium-sized branches that are usually low down. Fat-tailed dwarf lemurs make their nests in holes in trees, where they lie dormant throughout the dry season.

Habitat Regions: tropical ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: forest ; scrub forest

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Older, K. 2008. "Cheirogaleus medius" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Cheirogaleus_medius.html
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Kevin F. Older, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Tanya Dewey, Animal Diversity Web
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Life Expectancy

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Fat-tailed dwarf lemurs are reported to have lived up to 20 years in captivity.

Range lifespan
Status: captivity:
20 (high) years.

Average lifespan
Sex: female
Status: captivity:
17.0 years.

Average lifespan
Status: captivity:
18.0 years.

Average lifespan
Status: captivity:
18.0 years.

Average lifespan
Sex: male
Status: captivity:
19.3 years.

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Older, K. 2008. "Cheirogaleus medius" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Cheirogaleus_medius.html
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Kevin F. Older, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Tanya Dewey, Animal Diversity Web
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Morphology

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Fat-tailed dwarf lemurs are small animals, about the size of a small rat. Head and body length is 20 to 23 cm and tail length is 20 to 27 cm. Body weight varies between 120 and 270 grams, being heaviest just prior to entering seasonal torpor. Their fur is soft and woolly. They have large, lustrous eyes which are surrounded by dark rings. They are a brownish-red or grey color, and their underside is completely white. Along with the dark eye rings, fat-tailed dwarf lemurs have a white nasal stripe and white feet.

Range mass: 120 to 270 g.

Range length: 20 to 23 mm.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; heterothermic ; bilateral symmetry

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike

Average basal metabolic rate: 1.088 W.

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Older, K. 2008. "Cheirogaleus medius" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Cheirogaleus_medius.html
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Kevin F. Older, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Tanya Dewey, Animal Diversity Web
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Associations

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Predators of fat-tailed dwarf lemurs include fossas, Madagascar harrier-hawks, Madagascar buzzards, barn owls, Madagascan long-eared owls, and native boas. Fat-tailed dwarf lemurs are nocturnal and cryptically colored, which helps them to avoid some predation.

Known Predators:

  • fossas (Cryptoprocta ferox)
  • Madagascar harrier-hawks (Polyboroides radiatus)
  • Madagascar buzzards (Buteo brachypterus)
  • barn owls (Tyto alba)
  • Madagascan long-eared owls (Asio madagascariensis)
  • Madagascar ground boas (Acrantophis madagascariensis)
  • Madagascar tree boas (Sanzinia madagascariensis)

Anti-predator Adaptations: cryptic

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Older, K. 2008. "Cheirogaleus medius" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Cheirogaleus_medius.html
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Kevin F. Older, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Tanya Dewey, Animal Diversity Web
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Fat-tailed dwarf lemur

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The fat-tailed dwarf lemur (Cheirogaleus medius), also known as the lesser dwarf lemur, western fat-tailed dwarf lemur, or spiny forest dwarf lemur, is endemic to Madagascar.

Hibernation

Recent research has shown that C. medius hibernates (or aestivates), even though in the tropical winter of Madagascar, temperatures remain high. It is the first tropical mammal and only primate in which hibernation has been demonstrated. However, the Malagasy winter is dry, and it appears that the lemur is avoiding the drought. It can hibernate for seven months. Unlike animals that hibernate in temperate regions, the lemur does not control its body temperature while hibernating, and if the tree hole in which it is sleeping is not well insulated, its body temperature fluctuates in accordance with the outside temperature.[4] During torpor, this lemur has been found to periodically enter REM sleep; non-REM sleep has not been observed, a pattern opposite that found in hibernating ground squirrels.[5] The REM sleep episodes occurred during periods of higher ambient temperature (averaging 27 C, versus an average of 20 C during nonsleeping intervals while in torpor).[5]

C. medius has a significantly longer lifespan than other strepsirrhinine or nonstrepsirrhinine primates of similar size, and this longevity is thought to be related to its status as the only primate that is an obligatory hibernator. Its maximum lifespan in captivity is nearly 30 years.[6]

Like other fat-tailed lemurs, C. medius is able to store fat in its tail, and this provides a source of energy during its period of dormancy.

Taxonomy

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Cheirogaleus adipicaudatus

Between 2000 and 2009, a population of dwarf lemur was known as a separate species, the southern fat-tailed dwarf lemur (Cheirogaleus adipicaudatus). It was described by taxonomist Colin Groves as having a pelage coloration that is dark dorsally and gray ventrally, with a vaguely expressed dorsal stripe running down the back, a relatively short white median facial stripe, and black eye-rings.[7] However, in 2009, Groeneveld et al. demonstrated genetically that Cheirogaleus adipicaudatus was a synonym of Cheirogaleus medius, so the southern fat-tailed dwarf Lemur is no longer recognized as a species.[8][9]

Traits

This species is nocturnal, with a diet of insects, other small animals, fruits and flowers. The adult lemur mass is 160 grams. [10]

References

  1. ^ a b Andriaholinirina, N.; et al. (2014). "Cheirogaleus medius". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2014: e.T54778866A16111536. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2014-1.RLTS.T54778866A16111536.en.
  2. ^ Harcourt, C. (1990). Thornback, J (ed.). Lemurs of Madagascar and the Comoros: The IUCN Red Data Book (PDF). World Conservation Union. ISBN 978-2-88032-957-0. OCLC 28425691.
  3. ^ Groves, C. P. (2005). "Order Primates". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 112. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  4. ^ Dausmann, K. H.; Glos, J.; Ganzhorn, J. U. & Heldmaier, G. (2004). "Hibernation in a tropical primate". Nature. 429 (6994): 825–826. doi:10.1038/429825a. PMID 15215852.
  5. ^ a b Krystal, A. D.; Schopler, B.; Kobbe, S.; Williams, C.; Rakatondrainibe, H.; Yoder, A. D.; Klopfer, P. (2013). Seebacher, Frank (ed.). "The Relationship of Sleep with Temperature and Metabolic Rate in a Hibernating Primate". PLoS ONE. 8 (9): e69914. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0069914. PMC 3762832. PMID 24023713.
  6. ^ Blanco, M. B.; Zehr, S. M. (2015-03-18). "Striking longevity in a hibernating lemur". Journal of Zoology. 296: 177–188. doi:10.1111/jzo.12230. ISSN 0952-8369.
  7. ^ Groves, Colin (2000). "The genus Cheirogaleus: Unrecognized biodiversity in dwarf lemurs". International Journal of Primatology. 21 (6): 943–962. doi:10.1023/A:1005559012637.
  8. ^ Mittermeier, R.A.; Louis, E.E.; Richardson, M.; Schwitzer, C.; et al. (2010). Lemurs of Madagascar. Illustrated by S.D. Nash (3rd ed.). Conservation International. p. 183. ISBN 978-1-934151-23-5. OCLC 670545286.
  9. ^ Groeneveld, L.F.; Weisrock, D.W.; Rasoloarison, R.M.; Yoder, A.D.; Kappeler, P.M. (2009). "Species delimitation in lemurs: multiple genetic loci reveal low levels of species diversity in the genus Cheirogaleus" (PDF). BMC Evolutionary Biology. 9 (30): 30. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-9-30. PMC 2652444. PMID 19193227.
  10. ^ "Lemurs of Madagascar" (PDF).
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Fat-tailed dwarf lemur: Brief Summary

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The fat-tailed dwarf lemur (Cheirogaleus medius), also known as the lesser dwarf lemur, western fat-tailed dwarf lemur, or spiny forest dwarf lemur, is endemic to Madagascar.

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