Red-tailed Sportive Lemur (Lepilemur ruficaudatus)

This species has binocular vision. The red-tailed sportive lemur has a large cecum. On the hands and feet are large digital pads used for clinging. The dorsal side is light gray-brown in color with red-brown color anteriorly, and this species is light gray or white on its underparts (Jenkins, 1987; cited in Harcourt and Thornback, 1990).

The red-tailed sportive lemur is found in the country of Madagascar. This species lives in the dry forests of Western Madagascar (Harcourt and Thornback, 1990).

The red-tailed sportive lemur is primarily a folivorous species, but also will eat fruits (Harcourt and Thornback, 1990). Fruits from the Diospyros spp. are eaten in summer (Hladick et al., 1980; cited in Harcourt and Thornback, 1990). This species is also a cecotroph, which means it redigests its feces; it does this to help break down the cellulose in the leaves. This is an arboreal and nocturnal species.

The red-tailed sportive lemur moves through the forest by vertical clinging and leaping (Fleagle, 1988).

The red-tailed 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 and they transport their young in their mouth for the first few weeks. This is a highly territorial species, males will violently defend their territory (Fleagle, 1988).

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 sounds like "boako-boako" in this species, and this call is sometimes preceded by grunts (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).




The red-tailed sportive lemur gives birth to a single offspring per year which is typically born between September and November (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., Charles-Dominique, P. and Petter, J.-J. 1980. Feeding Strategies of Five Nocturnal Prosimians in the Dry Forest of the West Coast of Madagascar. in Nocturnal Malagasy Primates: Ecology, Physiology and Behaviour. Eds. Charles-Dominique, P., Cooper, H.M., Hladik, C.M., Pages, E., Pariente, G.F., Petter-Rousseaux, A., Petter, J.-J. and Schilling, A. Academic Press, New York.

Jenkins, P.D. 1987. Catalogue of Primates in the British Museum (Natural History) and Elsewhere in the British Isles. Part IV: Suborder Strepsirrhini, Including the Subfossil Madagascan Lemurs and the Family Tarsiidae. British Museum (Natural History), London.

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.

Last Updated: October 9, 2003.
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