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Distribution

    Distribution
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    Red-bellied lemurs, Eulemur rubriventer, live in the eastern rainforest zone of Madagascar (Nowak, 1999).

    Biogeographic Regions: ethiopian (Native )

    Other Geographic Terms: island endemic

Morphology

    Morphology
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    Red-bellied lemurs are sexually dichromatic. Females have white bellies with white markings on the neck and chin, whereas males are mostly brown with dramatic white eye patches and a scent gland located on the forehead. Both sexes both have a black tail.

    The head and body length is from 36 to 42 cm and the tail length is 46 to 54 cm. These lemurs usually weigh between 2 and 3 kg and are approximately the size of a house cat (SUNY, 1999; Schmid & Smolker, 1998).

    Range mass: 2 to 3 kg.

    Range length: 36 to 54 cm.

    Sexual Dimorphism: sexes colored or patterned differently

    Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry

Habitat

    Habitat
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    This lemur mainly inhabits rainforest regions, at medium to high altitudes (Macdonald, 1984; Nowak, 1999).

    Habitat Regions: tropical ; terrestrial

    Terrestrial Biomes: rainforest

Trophic Strategy

    Trophic Strategy
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    The diet of red-bellied lemurs consists mainly of flowers, fruits and leaves of 67 identified plant species. They also eat some invertebrates. When they eat toxic millipedes, they drool on them first, which may help to neutralize the toxins so these invertebrates are edible. Red-bellied lemurs, as well as other lemur species, may also eat soil (Nowak, 1999; Preston-Mafham, 1992).

    Animal Foods: insects

    Plant Foods: leaves; seeds, grains, and nuts; fruit; flowers

    Primary Diet: herbivore (Folivore , Frugivore )

Associations

    Associations
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    These lemurs play a role in seed dispersal and germination from seeds contained in the feces (Dew & Wright 1998).

    Ecosystem Impact: disperses seeds

    Associations
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    When feeding, red-bellied lemurs employ a sentinel to keep watch for predators. If a bird of prey or some other predator is detected, the sentinel will utter several low grunts. The other members of the group will either freeze for periods up to 15 minutes or they will take cover. The are preyed upon by fossas (the largest carnivore in Madagascar) and raptors (Preston-Mafham, 1992; Stony Brook State University of New York, 1999). They are also hunted by humans and taken by introduced dogs and cats.

    Known Predators:

    • fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox)
    • raptors (Falconiformes)
    • humans (Homo sapiens)
    • domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris)
    • domestic cats (Felis silvestris)

Behavior

    Behavior
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    As in other primate species, communication is complex and occurs in a variety of ways. In addition to vocal communication, E. rubriventer uses chemicals to communicate. The prominent forehead scent gland of males is used to help mark territories. Facial expressions and body postures are some of the visual signals these primates use in communication. Finally, tactile communication, through grooming, mating, play, and aggression, also occurs.

    Communication Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

    Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

Life Expectancy

    Life Expectancy
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    Red-bellied lemurs live 20 to 25 years in the wild (Duke University Primate Center, 1999).

    Range lifespan
    Status: wild:
    20 to 25 years.

    Average lifespan
    Status: captivity:
    20 years.

Reproduction

    Reproduction
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    Red-bellied lemurs are one of the few lemur species to form monogamous pair bonds. These form the core of the social group, which typically consists of the mated pair and their offspring. (Duke University Primate Center, 1999)

    Mating System: monogamous

    Red-bellied lemurs have a gestation period of 127 days and give birth from September to October. There is usually a single young born, though twins sometimes occur, and birth weight is 60 to 70 grams. An estrous cycle lasts one month and estrous lasts 1 to 2 days (Schmid & Smolker, 1998). Mothers wean their young around the age of 5 months.

    Sexual maturity is reached at about 2 years of age. (Duke University Primate Center, 1999)

    Breeding interval: These lemurs are capable of breeding annually.

    Breeding season: Mating occurs from May through June with births occuring from September to October.

    Range number of offspring: 1 to 2.

    Average gestation period: 127 days.

    Average weaning age: 5 months.

    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 ; fertilization ; viviparous

    Average birth mass: 85.5 g.

    Average gestation period: 130 days.

    Average number of offspring: 1.

    Both male and female parents care for their offspring. The mother nurses and carries the infant for the first 2 weeks of life. From 2 weeks to 5 weeks of age, the young are cared for equally by both parents, although nursing is only accomplished by the mother. After 5 weeks of age, the mother often rejects the young, leaving the father to care for them until they are about 100 days old.

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

Conservation Status

    Conservation Status
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    All species in this genus are endangered. The red-bellied lemur is listed as vulnerable by IUCN and is on Appendix I of CITES. Populations are estimated between 10,000 and 100,000 animals, and are thought to be declining due to the rapid loss of rainforest habitat in Madagascar (Nowak, 1999). All members of the Lemuridae are listed as endangered by the U.S. Federal government.

    US Federal List: endangered

    CITES: appendix i

    IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: vulnerable

Benefits

    Benefits
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    There are no negative effects of red-bellied lemurs on humans.

    Benefits
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    Red-bellied lemurs, as well as the other species of lemurs, are charismatic and unique animals, making them valuable for ecotourism. These animals have also been used in behavioral research. They are sometimes hunted for food.

    Positive Impacts: food ; ecotourism ; research and education

Other Articles

    Untitled
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    Rred-bellied lemurs have been used in many behavioral studies. The Malagasy names for these animals are: Tongona, Barimas, and Soamiera.