True lemur

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True lemurs
Eulemur mongoz (male - face).jpg
Mongoose lemur (Eulemur mongoz)
CITES Appendix I (CITES)[1]
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Suborder: Strepsirrhini
Family: Lemuridae
Genus: Eulemur
Simons & Rumpler, 1988[2]
Type species
Lemur mongoz
Linnaeus, 1766
12 species
Eulemur range map.svg
Combined distribution of Eulemur,
excluding introductions[3]
  • Petterus Groves and Eaglen, 1988

True lemurs, also known as brown lemurs, are the lemurs in genus Eulemur. They are medium-sized primates that live exclusively on Madagascar.

The fur of the true lemurs is long and usually reddish brown. Often there is sexual dimorphism in coloration (sexual dichromatism), such as in the black lemur. True lemurs are from 30 to 50 cm (12 to 20 in) in length, with a tail that is as long or significantly longer than the body. They weigh from 2 to 4 kg (4 to 9 lb).

True lemurs are predominantly diurnal forest inhabitants, with some species preferring rain forests, while others live in dry forests. They are skillful climbers and can cross large distances in trees by jumping, using their non-prehensile tails to aid in balancing. When on the ground, they move almost exclusively on all four legs. True lemurs are social animals and live together in groups of two to 15 members.

The diet of the true lemurs is almost exclusively herbivorous: flowers, fruits and leaves. In captivity, they have been shown to also eat insects.

Gestation is 125 days. During the summer or early fall (shortly before the beginning of the rainy season), the females birth their young, usually two offspring. The young clasp firmly to the fur of their mother, then ride on her back when they are older. After about five months they are weaned, and they are fully mature at about 18 months of age. The life expectancy of the true lemurs can be up to 18 years, but this can be longer in captivity.


Eulemur distribution
Range of the fulvus group: red = E. fulvus, green = E. collaris,
purple = E. rufus, orange = E. cinereiceps,
blue = E. rufifrons, yellow = E. albifrons,
brown = E. sanfordi
Range of the other Eulemur: red = E. rubriventer, green = E. mongoz,
purple = E. coronatus, orange = E. flavifrons,
blue = E. macaco
Eulemur rufus


  1. ^ "Checklist of CITES Species". CITES. UNEP-WCMC. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  2. ^ Groves, C.P. (2005). Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M., eds. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 114–116. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. OCLC 62265494. 
  3. ^ "IUCN 2014". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. International Union for Conservation of Nature. 2012. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 

External links

  • ARKive - images and movies of the collared brown lemur (Eulemur collaris)
  • Primate Info Net Eulemur Factsheets

Further reading

  • Markolf, M. and P. M. Kappeler. (2013). Phylogeographic analysis of the true lemurs (genus Eulemur) underlines the role of river catchments for the evolution of micro-endemism in Madagascar. Frontiers in Zoology 10:70.
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