Lemuridae

Taxobox
name = LemuridaeMSW3 Groves|pages=114-117|id=12100033]
fossil_range = Eocene to Recent


image_width = 200px
image_caption = Crowned Lemur ("Eulemur coronatus")
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Mammalia
ordo = Primates
subordo = Strepsirrhini
infraordo = Lemuriformes
superfamilia = Lemuroidea
familia = Lemuridae
familia_authority = Gray, 1821
subdivision_ranks = Genera
subdivision = "Lemur"
"Eulemur" "Hapalemur" "Prolemur" "Varecia"

Lemuridae is a family of prosimian primates native to Madagascar, and one of four families commonly known as lemurs. These animals were thought to be the evolutionary predecessors of monkeys and apes, but this is no longer considered correct. [cite book | author = Shumaker, Robert W., and Beck, Benjamin B. | title = Primates in Question | publisher = Smithsonian Institution | year = 2003 | id = ISBN 1588341763] The family gets its name from the Ancient Roman beliefFact|date=December 2007 that the animals were ghosts or spirits ('lemures'), because many species are nocturnal.

Characteristics

Lemurids are medium-sized arboreal primates, ranging from 32 to 56 cm in length, excluding the tail, and weighing from 0.7 to 5 kg. They have long, bushy, tails, and soft, woolly fur of varying coloration. The hindlegs are slightly longer than the forelegs, although not enough to hamper fully quadrupedal movement (unlike the sportive lemurs). Most species are highly agile, and regularly leap several metres between trees. They have a good sense of smell and binocular vision. Unlike most other lemurs, all but one species of lemurid (the Ring-tailed Lemur) lack a tapetum lucidum,cite book |editor=Macdonald, D.|author= Richard, Alison F.|year=1984 |title= The Encyclopedia of Mammals|publisher= Facts on File|location=New York|pages= 320-325|isbn= 0-87196-871-1] a reflective layer in the eye that improves night vision.

Lemurids are herbivorous, eating fruit, leaves, and, in some cases, nectar. They have the dental formula: dentition2|2.1.3.3|2.1.3.3

With most lemurids, the mother gives birth to one or two young after a gestation period of between 120 and 140 days, depending on species. Though the ruffed lemur species are the only lemurids that have true litters, consisting of anywhere from 2 to 6 offspring. They are generally sociable animals, living in groups of up to thirty individuals in some species. In some cases, such as the Ring-tailed Lemur, the groups are long-lasting, with distinct dominance hierarchies, while in others, such as the Common Brown Lemur, the membership of the groups varies from day to day, and seems to have no clear social structure.

Classification

The family Lemuridae contains 5 genera, and 19 species.
* ORDER PRIMATES
** Suborder Strepsirrhini: non-tarsier prosimians
*** Family Cheirogaleidae: dwarf and mouse lemurs
*** Family Lemuridae
**** Subfamily Lemurinae
***** Genus "Lemur"
****** Ring-tailed Lemur, "Lemur catta"
***** Genus "Eulemur" : brown lemurs
****** Black Lemur, "Eulemur macaco"
****** Common Brown Lemur, "Eulemur fulvus"
****** Sanford's Brown Lemur, "Eulemur sanfordi"
****** White-headed Lemur, "Eulemur albifrons"
****** Red-fronted Brown Lemur, "Eulemur rufus"
****** Collared Brown Lemur, "Eulemur collaris"
****** White-collared Brown Lemur, "Eulemur albocollaris"
****** Mongoose Lemur, "Eulemur mongoz"
****** Crowned Lemur, "Eulemur coronatus"
****** Red-bellied Lemur, "Eulemur rubriventer"
***** Genus "Varecia" : ruffed lemurs
****** Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur, "Varecia variegata"
****** Red Ruffed Lemur, "Varecia rubra"
**** Subfamily Hapalemurinae
***** Genus "Hapalemur" : lesser gentle or bamboo lemurs
****** Eastern Lesser Bamboo Lemur, "Hapalemur griseus"
****** Western Lesser Bamboo Lemur, "Hapalemur occidentalis"
****** Southern Lesser Bamboo Lemur, "Hapalemur meridionalis"
****** Lac Alaotra Gentle Lemur, "Hapalemur alaotrensis"
****** Golden Bamboo Lemur, "Hapalemur aureus"
***** Genus "Prolemur"
****** Greater Bamboo Lemur, "Prolemur simus"
*** Family Lepilemuridae: sportive lemurs
*** Family Indriidae: woolly lemurs, sifakas, and allies
*** Family Daubentoniidae: Aye-aye
*** Family Lorisidae: lorises, pottos and allies
*** Family Galagidae: galagos
** Suborder Haplorrhini: tarsiers, monkeys and apes

Genus "Lemur" has only one member: "Lemur catta", or the Ring-tailed Lemur. It is easily recognized by its black and white striped tail, and is found in many zoos.

Lemur species in the "Eulemur" are known to interbreed, despite having dramatically different chromosome numbers. Red-fronted (2N=60) and Collared (2N=50-52) Brown Lemurs were found to hybridize at Berenty Reserve, Madagascar. [Jekielek, J. (2002). [http://www.biology.ualberta.ca/news_events/events/index.php?Show_Description=Yes&month=10&year=2002&day=&Series=11&Show_All= Hybridization of Brown Lemurs at Berenty Reserve, Madagascar.] MSc. thesis, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta.]

References


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