Saturday 15 June
Grey-backed sportive lemur (Lepilemur dorsalis)
Grey-backed sportive lemur fact file
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Grey-backed sportive lemur description
The grey-backed sportive lemur (Lepilemur dorsalis) is one of the smallest species belonging to the genus Lepilemur. As the name suggests, the upperparts are greyish-brown in colour to medium-brown, with a dark brown stripe passing along the back. The underparts are a paler greyish-brown (2). The head is grey with a dark grey-brown face that has a fairly blunt muzzle and small, rounded ears that are almost hidden in the fur (2) (5). The tail is roughly the same length as the body and becomes darker towards its tip (5).
- Also known as
- island sportive lemur, Nosy Be sportive lemur.
- Lemur Comadreja De Ambanja.
- Total length: 51 - 54 cm (2)
- Head/body length: 25 - 26 cm (2)
- Tail length: 26 - 28 mm (2)
- 500 g (2)
- A category used in taxonomy, which is below ‘family’ and above ‘species’. A genus tends to contain species that have characteristics in common. The genus forms the first part of a ‘binomial’ Latin species name; the second part is the specific name.
- Active at night.
- Richardson, M. (2005) Pers. comm.
- Garbutt, N. (1999) Mammals of Madagascar. Pica Press, Sussex.
IUCN Red List (April, 2011)
CITES (March, 2004)
Lemurs of Madagascar (March, 2004)
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Grey-backed sportive lemur biology
Only short studies have been made of this lemur so far, and so relatively little is known of its behaviour and ecology (2). The nocturnal grey-backed sportive lemur sleeps during the day: in secondary forests, where large trees are rare, they roll into a small ball amongst foliage or on branches, but in primary forest they use tree holes (2). In some forests, they have even utilised purpose-made nestboxes put into trees (2). There is evidence to suggest that grey-backed lemurs return each night to a favourite sleeping place, often for 14 nights in a row (2). This largely solitary species feeds mainly on foliage, although they will also take fruit and bark (5).Top
Grey-backed sportive lemur range
Of all sportive lemurs, the grey-backed sportive lemur has one of the most limited distributions (5). It is found only in the Sambirano region of northwest Madagascar, including the Ampasindava Peninsula and the islands of Nosy Be and Nosy Komba (2).Top
Grey-backed sportive lemur habitatTop
Grey-backed sportive lemur statusTop
Grey-backed sportive lemur threats
The main threat facing the grey-backed sportive lemur is habitat destruction, which is even occurring inside protected areas for rice and coffee cultivation (2). Forest clearance has been very widespread on Madagascar, and remaining patches are typically small and highly isolated (5). Furthermore, illegal logging persists. Other threats include hunting for food, harassment by children and being taken for pets (2).Top
Grey-backed sportive lemur conservation
The grey-backed sportive lemur occurs within two protected areas: the Manongarivo Special Reserve, and on Lokobe Special Reserve on the island of Nosy Be (5), however neither reserve is protected sufficiently from the problems of encroachment. Conservation education programmes in the areas concerned may help to stem the tide of habitat destruction. There is also potential for the development of ecotourism attractions, which would provide a source of income for the locals and hopefully negate the need for the reserves to be exploited (5).Top
Find out more
Garbutt, N. (1999) Mammals of Madagascar. Pica Press, Sussex.Top
Authenticated (17/10/2005) by Matt Richardson, independent primatologist and writer.Top
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