Fork-marked lemur

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Fork-marked lemurs
Katzenmaki (Chirogaleus furcifer).png
An Eastern Fork-marked Lemur lithograph from Brehms Tierleben (1860)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Suborder: Strepsirrhini
Infraorder: Lemuriformes
Family: Cheirogaleidae
Genus: Phaner
Gray, 1870
Type species
Lemur furcifer
Blainville, 1839[1]
Species

Phaner furcifer
Phaner pallescens
Phaner parienti
Phaner electromontis

Fork-marked lemurs or fork-crowned lemurs are four lemur species of the genus Phaner.[1] Like all other lemurs, all species in this genus are native to Madagascar. They are named due to the two striking black stripes which run from their eyes to the end of the snout.

Taxonomy[edit]

Like all lemurs, these species are found on the African island of Madagascar. There are four species, with a fifth currently being assessed.[2][3]

In December 2010, Russell Mittermeier of Conservation International and Ed Louis from the Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo announced the possibility of a new species of fork-marked lemur in the protected area of Daraina in northeast Madagascar. In October, a specimen was observed, captured, and released, although genetic tests have yet to determine if it is in fact a new species. The specimen demonstrated a slightly different color pattern, a strange structure under its tongue, and an unusual head-bobbing behavior. If confirmed as a new species, they plan to name it after Fanamby, a key conservation organization working in that protected forest.[3][4]

Description[edit]

Fork-marked lemurs have a body length of 23 to 28 centimeters, a bushy tail of 29 to 37 centimeters and weigh between 0.3 to 0.5 kilograms. Their coat is light brown with a lighter ventral side which are cream, white, or pale brown.[5] These lemurs have a specialised diet of tree sap so their hands and feet are relatively large to get a good hold of the tree trunks.[6] They have long anterior premolars that are caniform and are utilised to extract gum by breaking through tree bark. They have a long tongue which assists obtaining the gum.[7]

Behaviour[edit]

Fork-marked lemurs are forest dwellers, they can be found both in rainforests as well as in dense trees in savannah areas. They are nocturnal and sleep during the day in tree hollows or on branches. At night they go to search for food, running quadrupedally across branches and leaping up to 10 meters between trees.[7]

These primates are territorial, and require approximately 4 hectares. The territory boundaries are marked with a cutaneous throat gland, this is called allomarking.[6] This prevents different males from inhabiting the same area, while females may overlap. This often leads to the formation of monogamous couples, who sleep and forage together.[6] Fork-marked lemur are considered very vocal animals, a have a complex range of calls.[6]

Their diet consists mainly of gum from trees in the genus Terminalia[6] and small arthropods for protein.[6]

Fork-marked lemurs have one infant per season, usually in November or December.(Harcourt and Thornback, 1990) When mature enough, the infant will cling to the stomach of the mother, as it gets older it is transported dorsally.[8] The life expectancy of animals in human care is up to 12 years.

Conservation[edit]

The main threat to these primates is the destruction of their habitat due to forest clearance. According to estimates from the 1990s there are about 1000 to 10,000 individuals left in the wild. The IUCN lists P. parienti and P. electromontis as vulnerables,[9][10] and P. pallescens and P. furcifer as near threatened.[11][12]

Fork-marked lemurs are found in the following Madagascan reserves.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Groves, C. P. (2005). Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M, eds. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 114. OCLC 62265494. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Groves, C.P. and Tattersall, I. (1991). "Geographical variation in the fork-marked lemur, Phaner furcifer (Primates, Cheirogaleidae)". Folia Primatologica 56: 39–49. doi:10.1159/000156526. 
  3. ^ a b "New species of lemur discovered in Madagascar". BBC News. 13 Dec 2010. 
  4. ^ "New lemur: big feet, long tongue and the size of squirrel" (Press release). Conservation International. 2010-12-13. Retrieved 2011-03-05. 
  5. ^ Tattersall, I. (1982). The Primates of Madagascar. Columbia University Press: New York. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Charles-Dominique, P. and Petter, J.J. (1980). P. Charles-Dominique, H.M. Cooper, A. Hladik, C.M. Hladik, E. Pages, G.F. Pariente, A. Petter-Rousseaux, and A. Schilling, ed. Ecology and social life of Phaner furcifer in Nocturnal Malagasy Primates: Ecology, Physiology, and Behavior. Academic Press: New York. 
  7. ^ a b Fleagle, J. G. (1988). Primate Adaptation and Evolution. Academic Press. ISBN 0-12-260341-9. 
  8. ^ Klopfer, P.H. and Boskoff, K.J. (1979). G. A. Doyle and R.D. Martin, ed. Maternal behavior in prosimians. In The Study of Prosimian Behavior. Academic Press: New York. 
  9. ^ Andrainarivo, C., Andriaholinirina, V.N., Feistner, A., Felix, T., Ganzhorn, J., Garbutt, N., Golden, C., Konstant, B., Louis Jr., E., Meyers, D., Mittermeier, R.A., Perieras, A., Princee, F., Rabarivola, J.C., Rakotosamimanana, B., Rasamimanana, H., Ratsimbazafy, J., Raveloarinoro, G., Razafimanantsoa, A., Rumpler, Y., Schwitzer, C., Thalmann, U., Wilmé, L. y Wright, P. (2008). "Phaner parienti". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.4. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 2011-03-05. 
  10. ^ Andrainarivo, C., Andriaholinirina, V.N., Feistner, A., Felix, T., Ganzhorn, J., Garbutt, N., Golden, C., Konstant, B., Louis Jr., E., Meyers, D., Mittermeier, R.A., Perieras, A., Princee, F., Rabarivola, J.C., Rakotosamimanana, B., Rasamimanana, H., Ratsimbazafy, J., Raveloarinoro, G., Razafimanantsoa, A., Rumpler, Y., Schwitzer, C., Thalmann, U., Wilmé, L. y Wright, P. (2008). "Phaner electromontis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.4. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 2011-03-05. 
  11. ^ Andrainarivo, C., Andriaholinirina, V.N., Feistner, A., Felix, T., Ganzhorn, J., Garbutt, N., Golden, C., Konstant, B., Louis Jr., E., Meyers, D., Mittermeier, R.A., Perieras, A., Princee, F., Rabarivola, J.C., Rakotosamimanana, B., Rasamimanana, H., Ratsimbazafy, J., Raveloarinoro, G., Razafimanantsoa, A., Rumpler, Y., Schwitzer, C., Thalmann, U., Wilmé, L. y Wright, P. (2008). "Phaner pallescens". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.4. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 2011-03-05. 
  12. ^ Andrainarivo, C., Andriaholinirina, V.N., Feistner, A., Felix, T., Ganzhorn, J., Garbutt, N., Golden, C., Konstant, B., Louis Jr., E., Meyers, D., Mittermeier, R.A., Perieras, A., Princee, F., Rabarivola, J.C., Rakotosamimanana, B., Rasamimanana, H., Ratsimbazafy, J., Raveloarinoro, G., Razafimanantsoa, A., Rumpler, Y., Schwitzer, C., Thalmann, U., Wilmé, L. y Wright, P. (2008). "Phaner furcifer". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.4. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 2011-03-05. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Goodman, S.M., O' Connor, S., and Langrand, O. (1993). "A review of predation on lemurs: implications for the evolution of social behavior in small, nocturnal primates." Lemur Social Systems and Their Ecological Basis. Plenum Press: New York.
  • 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, and Petter, J.J. (1980). "Feeding strategies of five nocturnal prosimians in the dry forest of the west coast of Madagascar." Nocturnal Malagasy Primates: Ecology, Physiology, and Behavior. Academic Press: New York.
  • Petter, J.J. 1978. "Ecolgical and physiological adaptations of five sympatric nocturnal lemurs to seasonal variations in food production." Recent Advances in Primatology, Vol. 1 Academic Press: London.
  • Walker, A. 1979. "Prosimian locomotor behavior." The Study of Prosimian Behavior. Academic Press: New York.

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