White-footed Sportive Lemur (Lepilemur leucopus)

This species has binocular vision. The white-footed sportive lemur has a large cecum. On the hands and feet are large digital pads used for clinging. This species has a pelage color which is medium to light gray on the dorsal side and very pale gray to white on the ventral side with having a tail that is very light brown (Harcourt and Thornback, 1990).

The white-footed sportive lemur is found in the country of Madagascar. This species lives in Southern Madagascar in the primary Didiereaceae forest and gallery forest (Harcourt and Thornback, 1990).

The white-footed sportive lemur is primarily a folivorous species. This species consumes leaves mostly from the species of Tamarindus indica, Euphorbia tiruculli, and various vine species (Nash, 1998). This species was also found to consume the flowers of Tamarindus indica (Nash, 1998). This species is also a cecotroph, which means it redigests its feces; it does this to help break down the cellulose in the leaves. The diet of the white-footed sportive lemur does not change from the cold to the warm season (Nash, 1998). This is an arboreal and nocturnal species. Both adult females who share ranges and males within a range of other females will sometimes come together during the night for foraging, and social grooming also may occur between the "range-mates" (Russell, 1977; cited in Tattersall and Sussman, 1983).

The white-footed sportive lemur moves through the forest by vertical clinging and leaping (Fleagle, 1988). This species uses more oblique and vertical supports, and substrates that are between 5 and 15 meters in height, more often when moving (Nash, 1998).

The white-footed sportive lemur has a social system where the basic group is composed of the mother and her offspring. The males live solitarily and have home ranges that overlap one or more females. This species has a polygynous mating system. He visits each female during the breeding season. Females will leave their infants on a branch when they forage for food. This is a highly territorial species, males will violently defend their territory (Fleagle, 1988). Males will defend their teritories by surveillance, vocalizations, and by displays, and not by olfactory cues which are typical for nocturnal animals (Hladik and Charles-Dominique, 1974; cited in Harcourt and Thornback, 1990).

loud call: This call is emitted by the adult male and is a crow-like call (Fleagle, 1988). This is used as a territorial call, used to demarcate a male’s territory and to advertise to other males that a male already occupies a certain territory (Fleagle, 1988). This call first starts out as a series of harsh "hein" calls which are followed by high-pitched "hee" type calls (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979). This call can also be emitted with only one of either the "hein" or the "hee" call (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979).

contact call: This is given by the mother to keep in contact with her infant which she leaves parked on a tree branch while she forages at night (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979). This call sounds like a kiss (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979).

contact-rejection call: This call consists of a series of resonant hissing calls which is followed by a two-phase vocalization (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979). This call occurs in captivity if an individual is approached and they will also strike out with the hands (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979). In the wild this is heard when two conspecifics are close in porximity to one another (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979).



social grooming: This is when one individual will groom another. This is done by the white-footed sportive lemur during greeting, and occurs highly between mothers and her adult offspring (Tattersall and Sussman, 1983). During greeting first nose-touching occurs then social grooming follows, then a period of resting in contact occurs (Tattersall and Sussman, 1983).

nose-touching: This is when two individuals will face each others and touch noses; this occurs during greeting and is followed by social grooming (Tattersall and Sussman, 1983).

The white-footed sportive lemur gives birth to a single offspring per year which is born between September to November (Petter et al., 1977; cited in Harcourt and Thornback, 1990).

Burton, Frances. 1995. The Multimedia Guide to the Non-human Primates. Prentice-Hall Canada Inc.

Fleagle, John G. 1988. Primate Adaptation and Evolution. Academic Press.

Harcourt, C. and Thornback, J. 1990. Lemurs of Madagascar and the Comoros. The IUCN Red Data Book. IUCN Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, U.K.

Hladik, C.M. and Charles-Dominique, P. 1974. The Behavior and Ecology of the Sportive Lemur (Lepilemur mustelinus) in Relation to its Dietary Peculiarities. in Prosimian Biology. eds. Martin, R.D., Doyle, G.A. and Walker, A.C. Duckworth, London.

Nash, L.T. 1998. Vertical Clingers and Sleepers: Seasonal Influences on the Activities and Substrate Use of Lepilemur leucopus at Beza Mahafaly Special Reserve, Madagascar. Folia Primatologica. Vol. 69(suppl 1), 204-217.

Petter, J.J. and Charles-Dominique, P. 1979. Vocal communication in prosimians. in The Study of Prosimian Behavior. eds. G.A. Doyle and R.D. Martin. Academic Press, New York.

Petter, J.J., Albignac, R., and Rumpler, Y. 1977. Mammiferes Lemuriens (Primates prosimiens). Faune de Madagascar No. 44. ORSTOM-CNRS, Paris.

Russel, R.J. 1977. The Behavior, Ecology,, and Environmental Physiology of a Nocturnal Primate, Lepilemur mustelinus (Strepsirhini, Lemuriformes, Lepilemuridae). PhD Thesis, Duke University.

Tattersall, I. and Sussman, R.W. 1983. Ecology and Behavior of the Malagasy Primates. in Perspectives in Primate Biology, Vol. 3. eds. Seth, P.K. and Seth, S. Today and Tomorrow's Printers and Publishers, New Delhi.

Last Updated: October 9, 2003.
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