Northern Sportive Lemur (Lepilemur septentrionalis)

This species has binocular vision. The northern sportive lemur has a large cecum. On the hands and feet are large digital pads used for clinging. The upper parts of this species are gray being drakest on the crown, and the rump and the hindlimbs are a more pale gray (Tattersall, 1982; cited in Harcourt and Thornback, 1990). From the crown down the back there is a darker gray median stripe (Tattersall, 1982; cited in Harcourt and Thornback, 1990). The under parts, or drosal side, are gray in color (Tattersall, 1982; cited in Harcourt and Thornback, 1990).

The northern sportive lemur is found in the country of Madagascar. This species is found in Northern Madagascar from the left bank of the river Loky to the coast (Ratsirarson et al., 1987). This species lives in deciduous forest habitats (Harcourt and Thornback, 1990).

The northern sportive lemur is primarily a folivorous species, but also will eat a small amount of fruits and flowers to supplement the diet. 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. During the day the Northern sportive lemur sleeps in tree holes or bundles of dense foliage (Ratsirarson and Rumpler, 1988; cited in Harcourt and Thornback, 1990).

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

The northern 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).

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).

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 proximity to one another (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979).




The northern sportive lemur gives birth to a single offspring.

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.

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.

Ratsirarson, J. and Rumpler, Y. 1988. Contribution a L'Etude Comparee de L'Ecoethologie de Deux Especes de Lemuriens, Lepilemur mustelinus (I. Geoffroy 1850), Lepilemur septentrionalis (Rumpler and Albignac 1975). in L'Equilibre des Ecosystemes Forestiers a Madagascar, Actes d'un Seminaire International. eds. Rakotovao, L., Barre, V., and Sayer, J. IUCN Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, U.K.

Ratsirarson, J., Anderson, J., Warter, S., and Rumpler, Y. 1987. Notes on the Distribution of Lepilemur septentrionalis and Lepilemur mustelinus in Northern Madagascar. Primates. Vol. 28 (1), 119-122.

Tattersall, I. 1982. The Primates of Madagascar. Columbia University Press, New York.

Last Updated: May 5, 2000.
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