Red Ruffed Lemur (Varecia rubra) - Wiki
Red Ruffed Lemur
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[Photo] Red Ruffed Lemur Varecia rubra at Bristol Zoo, Bristol, England . Taken by Adrian Pingstone (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Arpingstone) in October 2006 and placed in the public domain.
The Red Ruffed Lemur (Varecia rubra) is one of two species in the genus Varecia, the ruffed lemurs; the other is the Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur (Varecia variegata). Like all lemurs, it is native to Madagascar and occurs only in the rainforests of Masoala, in the northeast of the island.
The Red Ruffed Lemur weighs 3.5-4 kg. It is about 53 cm long, with a 60 cm tail. Females are slightly larger than males.
As its name would suggest, it has a rust-coloured ruff and body. Its head, stomach, tail, feet, and the insides of its legs are black. It has a white patch on the back of its neck, and may also have white markings on its feet or mouth.
This prosimian typically lives in small, matriarchal groups of 2-16 individuals, but group sizes of up to 32 have been recorded. Its diet consists primarily of fruit, nectar, and pollen. Leaves and seeds may be eaten when fruit becomes scarce.
The Red Ruffed Lemur lives 15-20 years in the wild. In captivity, 25 years is not uncommon, and one lived to be about 33 years old. It is a diurnal animal, and most active in the morning and evening.
The Duke Lemur Center has recorded about twelve different calls. The Red Ruffed Lemur and Black-and-White Ruffed Lemur understand each other's calls, despite living in different parts of Madagascar. Scent marking is also an important means of communication.
Unlike all other diurnal primates, females build nests 10-20 m off the forest floor, made with twigs, leaves, vines, and fur. Breeding takes place from May to July. Ruffed lemurs are also the only primates with litters of young, and, after a gestation period of 102 days, the female may give birth to up to six, although two or three is more typical. Newborns have fur and can see, but as they are immobile, the female leaves them in the nest until they are seven weeks old. Weaning occurs at four months. It is estimated that 65% of young do not reach three months of age, and often die by falling from the trees.
The IUCN Red List considers the Red Ruffed Lemur to be critically endangered, listing habitat loss, hunting, and the pet trade as primary threats. The creation of the Masoala National Park in 1997 has helped protect this species, but many Red Ruffed Lemurs do not live within the park's boundaries, and are still at high risk.
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