by Chloe Petrylak October 28, 2020

To celebrate World Lemur Day, we’re taking a look at the wonderful (and slightly peculiar) primates of Madagascar. 

RING-TAILED LEMUR

ring-tailed lemur

© Shutterstock

One of the most famous species of lemur (thanks to King Julien!), ring-tailed lemurs live in groups of between six and 30 individuals, called troops, and are led by one dominant female. Their striking striped tails can grow up to 56 centimetres long and are used for balance and to communicate with one another. Unlike some other primates, ring-tailed lemurs are unable to grip with their tail. But although they can't use their tails to swing from branch to branch, they can use their friend's tail as a lively swing – just like these black-and-white ruffed lemurs:

ring tailed lemur swinging

© Wolfgang Kaehler/Alamy Stock Photo

RED RUFFED LEMUR

red ruffed lemur

© Shutterstock

Red ruffed lemurs can only be found living in tropical lowland forests in a small part of north-eastern Madagascar. Their long, rusty red, woolly fur coat keeps them warm, as their forest home can often be wet and is sometimes chilly. These fluffy charmers have six teeth packed close together, which are used like a comb to groom each other. Red ruffed lemurs also have the ability to communicate with another species, the black and white lemur – they can understand their alarm calls. 

INDRI

Indri

© Shutterstock

The indri is the largest species of lemur on the planet, and can grow as big as a human child! These arboreal primates spend the majority of their time in trees, foraging for food such as fruit, leaves, flowers and other forms of vegetation. Indri are part of the leaping lemur family, known as Indridae. Unlike their primate cousins, theindri has a very short tail – less than 5cm in length.

SIFAKA

sifaka

© Shutterstock

Sifakas got their unusual name as a result of their unique call, which sounds like “shif-auk”. They can be found living in small family groups of between three and 10 individuals, and it’s thought that only one female in every group breeds. Like many other species of lemur, these primates spend the majority of their time in trees. However, quite unusually, they remain upright at all times and use their powerful hind legs to jump between trees – they have the ability to clear distances of more than nine metres! Sifakas are famous for the two-legged sideways hops they do to move across the forest floor. 

AYE-AYE

aye aye lemur

© Shutterstock

They may not look like lemurs, or any other animal for that matter, but aye-ayes are one of the rarest species of primate and are related to apes, chimpanzees and humans! They’re uniquely equipped with a long middle finger, which they use to tap on trees to encourage wood-boring insects to move. These clever primates use their large ears to listen for these movements before using their pointy clawed finger to fish out the grubs from under the bark. This type of hunting is known as echolocation. 

aye-aye-middle-finger

© Minden Pictures/Alamy Stock Photo


WORLD LEMUR DAY

World Lemur Day seeks to raise awareness of the value of these Madagascan primates in their natural habitats among scientists and the general public. Sadly, all of the species mentioned in this article are (at the time of posting) listed as endangered or critically endangered (the highest threat level) on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List. 

 

 


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


In other Eco Kids Planet News

Jellyfish final
Make your own: jellyfish

by Elise Chalumeau May 12, 2021

What you need:    An egg box Coloured tissue paper Fabric scraps Ribbon, sequin string, lace, cord, etc Yarn Beads Glue Scissors   What to do:    Step 1: Cut the egg box up into sections. Carefully make a hole in the top of one section with a sharp pencil point. This will be your jellyfish’s bell....

Monthly competition: Baby Animals
Monthly competition: baby animals

by Elise Chalumeau April 30, 2021

In our ‘Baby Animals’ issue, we asked you to create an information card for ababy animal. Thanks a million to everyone who entered the competition! Weloved learning some interesting facts about baby animals. Congratulations to our five winners! Amy, age 10, Richmond, Canada   Chloe, age 7, Worthin...

Monthly competition: Wetland Creature
Monthly competition: wetland creature

by Elise Chalumeau March 30, 2021

In our ‘Wetland Wildlife’ issue, we asked you to design your own wetlandcreature. Thanks a million to everyone who entered the competition!Your creativity was out of this world! Congratulations to our five winners! Finley, age 6, Woodbridge "Chinese Black Western Greater Vole" Here is my wetland c...