Greater bamboo lemur (Prolemur simus)

loading
Greater bamboo lemur feeding on bamboo
loading
Loading more images and videos...

Greater bamboo lemur fact file

Greater bamboo lemur description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassMammalia
OrderPrimates
FamilyLemuridae
GenusProlemur (1) (2)

Prolemur simus is the largest of the bamboo lemurs (5). A dense olive-brown coat covers the rounded body, whilst the underparts and tail are grey-brown in colour with a russet tinge (3). As well as its large size, the greater bamboo lemur can be recognised by the prominent pale grey or white ear tufts (3). However, a recently discovered population of this species has a strikingly different deep golden-red coat, and no ear tufts (3). The blunt muzzles of bamboo lemurs give their faces a more rounded appearance than other members of the family. They have relatively long tails and long back legs for leaping vertically amongst the trees of their forest habitat (3).

Synonyms
Hapalemur simus.
French
Grand Hapalémur, Hapalémur Simien.
Size
Head-and-body length: 40 – 42 cm (2)
Tail length: 45 – 48 cm (2)
Weight
2.2 - 2.5 kg (3)
Top

Greater bamboo lemur biology

Very little is known about the natural ecology and behaviour of the greater bamboo lemur. Groups composed of 4 to 7 individuals (and occasionally up to 12) have been observed but little else is known about their social structure and interactions (3).

As its common name suggests, this species specialises on eating bamboo, a trait that is highly unusual amongst mammals (5). Almost 98% of the diet is made up of this low-energy food, especially giant bamboo (Cephalostachium viguieri). These lemurs prefer the inner pith of the plant, stripping away the outer layers in a destructive manner (3).

Top

Greater bamboo lemur range

Endemic to Madagascar, fossil evidence suggests that the greater bamboo lemur was originally widespread in northern, central and eastern areas of the island (3). Today, however, this species is restricted to areas in and around the Ranomafana National Park of southeastern Madagascar, although data on distribution is scarce and populations may also exist in the Andringitra Massif and near to Vondrozo (3).

Top

Greater bamboo lemur habitat

Found in humid primary rainforests where there are giant bamboo trees (Cephalostachium viguieri) (2) (3).

Top

Greater bamboo lemur status

Classified as Critically Endangered (CR A2cd) on the IUCN Red List 2002 (1), and listed on Appendix I of CITES (4).

IUCN Red List species status – Critically Endangered

Top

Greater bamboo lemur threats

The rainforests of Madagascar are being widely cleared by slash-and-burn techniques and this habitat destruction is one of the major threats to the survival of the greater bamboo lemur (3). Bamboo is also being cleared in some areas, and this lemur is targeted by hunters in other regions (3). The known range of the greater bamboo lemur is highly restricted and this implies further threats to survival (3).

Top

Greater bamboo lemur conservation

The greater bamboo lemur is protected within two areas in Madagascar, however, even within Ranomafana National Park the native trees are being exploited and this species is at risk (3). Further research into these little-known lemurs is urgently needed and more extensive surveys of the area may well reveal further isolated populations in need of protection (3).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
Top

Find out more

For further information on this species see:

The Lemur Conservation Project:
http://www.lemurreserve.org/

The Madagascar Fauna Group:
http://www.savethelemur.org/about-main.htm

EDGE of Existence:
http://www.edgeofexistence.org/mammals/species_info.php?id=24

Top

Authentication

Authenticated (25/02/2006) by Matt Richardson, independent primatologist and writer.

Top

Glossary

Endemic
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Top

References

  1. IUCN Red List (March, 2003)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org
  2. Richardson, M. (2006) Pers. comm.
  3. Garbutt, N. (1999) Mammals of Madagascar. Pica Press, Sussex.
  4. CITES (March, 2003)
    http://www.cites.org
  5. Animal Info (March, 2003)
    http://www.animalinfo.org/species/primate/hapasimu.htm
X
Close

Image credit

Greater bamboo lemur feeding on bamboo  
Greater bamboo lemur feeding on bamboo

© Nick Garbutt / www.photoshot.com

NHPA/Photoshot Holdings Ltd
29-31 Saffron Hill
London
EC1N 8SW
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7421 6003
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7421 6006
sales@photoshot.com
http://www.photoshot.com

X
Close

Link to this photo

ARKive species - Greater bamboo lemur (Prolemur simus) Embed this ARKive thumbnail link ("portlet") by copying and pasting the code below.

Terms of Use - The displayed portlet may be used as a link from your website to ARKive's online content for private, scientific, conservation or educational purposes only. It may NOT be used within Apps.

Read more about

X
Close

MyARKive

MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.

Play the Team WILD game:

Team WILD, an elite squadron of science superheroes, needs your help! Your mission: protect and conserve the planet’s species and habitats from destruction.

Conservation in Action

Which species are on the road to recovery? Find out now »

Help us share the wonders of the natural world. Donate today!

Blog