Milne-Edwards Sportive Lemur (Lepilemur edwardsi)



MORPHOLOGY:
This species has binocular vision. The Milne-Edwards sportive lemur has a large cecum. On the hands and feet are large digital pads used for clinging. This species has a pelage color which is gray-brown dorsally with a red-brown wash and gray ventrally flecked with cream color (Tattersall, 1982; cited in Harcourt and Thornback, 1990).

RANGE:
The Milne-Edwards sportive lemur is found in the country of Madagascar. This species lives in the Western dry forest of northern Madagascar (Warren and Crompton, 1997).

ECOLOGY:
The Milne-Edwards sportive lemur is primarily a folivorous species, but also will eat a small amount of fruits and flowers to supplement the diet. Milne-Edwards sportive lemur will eat older leaves and even the leaves that are dead or dying of Tabemaemontana modesta (Warren and Crompton, 1997). This species tends to forage for foods that are clumped together (Warren and Crompton, 1997). This species is also a cecotroph, which means it redigests its feces; it does this to help break down the cellulose in the leaves. This is an arboreal and nocturnal species. This species is unusual amongst the primates in that it is small and is a folivore and a leaper (Warren and Crompton, 1997). Since it is active at night, this species consumes leaves, which are low in available sugars (Warren and Crompton, 1997). This species may make up for having a low energy diet by having a relatively small home range, thus not moving much, and by having reduced thermoregulation levels (Warren and Crompton, 1997).

LOCOMOTION:
The Milne-Edwards sportive lemur moves through the forest by vertical clinging and leaping (Fleagle, 1988). This species tends to leap between tree limbs with sloping and horizontal supports (Warren, 1997). This species is capable of leaps of 4 meters or more (Warren and Crompton, 1997).

SOCIAL BEHAVIOR:
The Milne-Edwards sportive lemur has a social system where the basic group is composed of the mother and her offspring. The males live solitarily and have home ranges that overlap one or more females. This species has a polygynous mating system. He visits each female during the breeding season. Females will leave their infants on a branch when they forage for food. This is a highly territorial species, males will violently defend their territory (Fleagle, 1988). The male defends the territory with auditory behavioral patterns which also involves the shaking of tree branches (Albignac, 1981; cited in Harcourt and Thornback, 1990).

VOCAL COMMUNICATION:
loud call: This call is emitted by the adult male and is a crow-like call (Fleagle, 1988). This is used as a territorial call, used to demarcate a male's territory and to advertise to other males that a male already occupies a certain territory (Fleagle, 1988). This call starts out sounding like "oooai" then is followed by a rapid sequence of "oui oui oui" type calls (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979).

contact call: This is given by the mother to keep in contact with her infant which she leaves parked on a tree branch while she forages at night (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979). This call sounds like "tchen" (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979).

contact-rejection call: This call consists of a series of resonant hissing calls which is followed by a two-phase vocalization (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979). This call occurs in captivity if an individual is approached and they will also strike out with the hands (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979). In the wild this is heard when two conspecifics are close in porximity to one another (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979).

OLFACTORY COMMUNICATION:

VISUAL COMMUNICATION:

TACTILE COMMUNICATION:

REPRODUCTION:
The Milne-Edwards sportive lemur gives birth to a single offspring.

REFERENCES:
Albignac, R. 1981. Lemurine Social and Territorial Organisation in a North-western Malagasy Forest (restricted area of Ampijoroa). in Primate Behavior and Sociobiology. eds. Chiarelli, A.B. and Corruccini, R.S. Spriner Verlag, Berlin.

Burton, F. 1995. The Multimedia Guide to the Non-human Primates. Prentice-Hall Canada Inc.

Fleagle, J. G. 1988. Primate Adaptation and Evolution. Academic Press.

Harcourt, C. and Thornback, J. 1990. Lemurs of Madagascar and the Comoros. The IUCN Red Data Book. IUCN Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, U.K.

Petter, J.J. and Charles-Dominique, P. 1979. Vocal communication in prosimians. in The Study of Prosimian Behavior. eds. G.A. Doyle and R.D. Martin. Academic Press, New York.

Tattersall, I. 1982. The Primates of Madagascar. Columbia University Press, New York.

Warren, R.D. 1997. Habitat Use and Support Preference of Two Free-ranging Saltatory Lemurs (Lepilemur edwardsi and Avahi occidentalis). Journal of the Zoological Society of London. Vol. 241, 325-341.

Warren, R.D. and Crompton, R.H. 1997. Locomotor Ecology of Lepilemur edwardsi and Avahi occidentalis. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. Vol. 104, 471-486.

Last Updated: March 20, 2007.
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