Animal Info - Crowned Lemur

(Other Names: Ankomba, Gidro, Kronenmaki, Lémur ŕ Couronne, Lemur Coronado)

Eulemur coronatus (Lemur c., E. mongoz c.)

Status: Vulnerable


Contents

1. Profile (Picture)
2. Tidbits
3. Status and Trends (IUCN Status, Countries Where Currently Found, Taxonomy, Population Estimates, History of Distribution, Threats and Reasons for Decline)
4. Data on Biology and Ecology (Size and Weight, Habitat, Age to Maturity, Gestation Period, Birth Season, Birth Rate, Early Development, Diet, Behavior, Social Organization, Density and Range)
5. References


Profile

Pictures: Crowned Lemur #1 (male) (17 Kb JPEG) and Crowned Lemur #2 (group) (17 Kb JPEG) (Duke Univ. Prim. Ctr. 2005)  

The crowned lemur is a medium-sized lemur with a distinctive chestnut-orange "crown" pattern on its head.  Its head and body length is about 33 cm (13"), and it weighs about 2 kg (4.4 lb). The crowned lemur is found in practically all types of forests, including dry forests and moist forests. It has also been found in deforested zones. During both the wet and the dry seasons, fruit forms the bulk of this lemur’s diet. In the dry season, flowers and young leaves are also taken, together with the occasional invertebrate

The crowned lemur is mostly diurnal, although it usually has a nighttime activity period lasting up to two hours. It travels in all levels of the forest but seems to prefer the canopy level. However, it often forages in scrubby bushes and short trees and routinely descends to the ground to eat fallen fruit or to travel. In dry areas, it may enter deeply into caves in search of water. This lemur is found in groups that include adults of both sexes, together with infants and juveniles. The groups range in size from five to up to 15 animals, with groups of 5 - 6 being the norm. Although there is usually significant overlap between the home ranges of neighboring groups, interactions between groups of crowned lemurs are rare. 

Currently, the crowned lemur occurs in the northern forests of Madagascar, from the Ankarana Massif in the west to the Fanambana River in the east. The area of suitable habitat remaining is probably less than 1300 square kilometers (500 sq mi). Throughout much of its range, it is threatened by the loss and fragmentation of its habitat. Forest is being cleared and burned to make way for agriculture, and illegal logging also occurs on the periphery of several key reserves. In some areas crowned lemurs are also hunted for food or kept as pets.

Tidbits

*** In 1935 it was noted that crowned lemurs showed little fear of man, to the extent that the natives sometimes killed them with sticks (IUCN 1969).


Status and Trends

IUCN Status:

  • 1960's: Indeterminate
  • 1970's: Vulnerable
  • 1980's: Insufficiently Known
  • 1994: Endangered
  • 1996 - 2004: Vulnerable (Criteria: A1cd, B1+2bc) (Population Trend: Decreasing) (IUCN 2004)

Countries Where the Crowned Lemur Is Currently Found:

2004: Occurs in Madagascar (IUCN 2004).

Taxonomy:

 Until recently, crowned lemurs were thought to be a subspecies of the mongoose lemur.

Population Estimates:

[Note: Figures given are for wild populations only.]

History of Distribution:

In the 1930's, the crowned lemur was said to be very common in dry wooded parts of northern Madagascar and on Mount d'Ambre (Curry-Lindahl 1972).  In 1953, it was known from the savanna and dry bush regions of both northeastern as well as northwestern Madagascar, north of the Bay of Bombetoka on the west coast and the Bay of Antongil on the east coast, north as far as Mt. d'Ambre (IUCN 1969).  By 1968 it was confined to the northeast of Madagascar (IUCN 1969).

In the early 1990's, the crowned lemur was found from the extreme north on the Cap d'Ambre peninsula, southwest to Ambilobe and probably some distance down the Mahavavy River. To the east, its limit was some point just north of Sambava, possibly the Bemarivo River. (Mittermeier et al. 1994)

Currently, the crowned lemur occurs in the northern forests of Madagascar, from the Ankarana Massif in the west to the Fanambana River in the east (IUCN 2004). The area of suitable habitat remaining is probably less than 1300 square kilometers (500 sq mi) (Duke Univ. Prim. Ctr. 2004).

Distribution Map (13 Kb GIF) 

Threats and Reasons for Decline:

Throughout much of its range, it is threatened by the loss and fragmentation of its habitat. Forest is being cleared and burned to make way for agriculture, and illegal logging occurs on the periphery of several key reserves. In some areas crowned lemurs are also hunted for food or kept as pets. (Garbutt 1999, Duke Univ. Prim. Ctr. 2004)


Data on Biology and Ecology

Size and Weight:

The head and body length of the crowned lemur is about 32 - 35 cm (13 - 14"), and its tail is 42 - 51 cm (17 - 20") long.  It weighs about 2 kg (4.4 lb).

Habitat:

The crowned lemur is found in practically all types of forests, including dry forests and moist forests. It has also been found in deforested zones. The crowned lemur prefers drier forests, and it occurs in higher densities in dry forest habitats than in adjacent more humid forests, which it may have been forced into because of human activity (Duke Univ. Prim. Ctr. 2004).

The crowned lemur lives in the Madagascar & Indian Ocean Islands Biodiversity Hotspot (Cons. Intl. 2005).

Age to Maturity:

Sexual maturity is estimated to occur at around 20 months of age (Duke Univ. Prim. Ctr. 2004).

Gestation Period:

125 days (captivity).

Birth Season:

Crowned lemurs tend to mate in late May and June. Infants are born in late September and October, corresponding to the rainy season. (Duke Univ. Prim. Ctr. 2004)

Birth Rate:

Single infants and twins are born with about the same frequency (Duke Univ. Prim. Ctr. 2004).

Early Development:

The infant clings to its mother's belly for about the first three weeks, shifting position only to nurse. At approximately five weeks of age, the young lemur moves its perch to the mother's back, and it takes its first steps. At this point, it begins to taste solid food, sampling bits of whatever the other members of their group are eating. The infant continues to nurse, but nursing comprises a steadily declining proportion of its diet, until the infant is weaned at 5 - 6 months of age. (Duke Univ. Prim. Ctr. 2004)

Diet:

During both the wet and the dry seasons, fruit forms the bulk of the crowned lemur’s diet - around 80 % - 90 %. In the dry season, flowers and young leaves are also taken, together with the occasional invertebrate. In the wet season a greater number of leaves and plant species are utilized. (Garbutt 1999)

Behavior:

The crowned lemur is mostly diurnal, although it usually has a nighttime activity period lasting up to two hours. It travels in all levels of the forest but seems to prefer the canopy level. However, it often forages in scrubby bushes and short trees and routinely descends to the ground to eat fallen fruit or to travel. In dry areas, it may enter deeply into caves in search of water. (Duke Univ. Prim. Ctr. 2004)

Social Organization:

This lemur is found in groups that include adults of both sexes, together with infants and juveniles. The groups range in size from five to up to 15 animals, with groups of 5 - 6 being the norm. In humid forest areas the average group size appears to be smaller than in areas of dry forest, which is the crowned lemur's preferred habitat. Large groups often break up into foraging subgroups of 1 - 4 animals.  Such subgroups use vocalization to maintain contact with, or to locate, other subgroups when separation distances are large. Although there is usually significant overlap between the home ranges of neighboring groups, interactions between groups of crowned lemurs are rare.  (Garbutt 1999, Duke Univ. Prim. Ctr. 2004)

The crowned lemur and Sanford’s brown lemur, which are largely sympatric, are known to aggregate into mixed foraging groups for between 20 % and 30 % of each day, particularly during the wet season when resources are abundant. During such times there is very little aggression between the species. (Garbutt 1999)

Density and Range:

Population densities range from 50 - 500 individuals/sq km (130 - 1300 individuals/sq mi). Densities are higher in dry deciduous forest, the crowned lemur's preferred habitat, and lower in humid forests.  In Ankarana Special Reserve, estimates vary from 150 - 300 individuals/sq km (390 - 780 individuals/sq mi), while at Sakalava the estimate is about 100 individuals/sq km (260 individuals/sq mi). In the humid forests of Montagne d’Ambre, densities of about 50 individuals/sq km (130 individuals/sq mi) have been estimated. (Garbutt 1999, IUCN 2004) 


References

Burton & Pearson 1987, Cons. Intl. 2005, Curry-Lindahl 1972, Duke Univ. Prim. Ctr. 2004, 2005, Garbutt 1999, IUCN 1969, IUCN 1994, IUCN 1996, IUCN 2000, IUCN 2003a, IUCN 2004, Macdonald 1984, Macdonald 2001, Madagascar Fauna Group, Mittermeier et al. 1994, Nowak & Paradiso 1983, Rowe 1996 


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