Lifestyle and Lifespan
Named for it's distinctive orange coloration that appears "crown" shaped on it's head, this species of lemur also features differing body coloration that helps to distinguish males from females. Males are much darker reddish brown with dark tails and a black streak amidst the orange on their heads. Females are mostly gray with an orange crown and white bellies.
Until recently, the crowned lemurs were grouped as a sub-species of the mongoose lemur.
Two very helpful features are the "tooth comb"and the long tail. The tooth comb are the 6 lower incisor teeth that have fused over time. It is used to groom both itself and other lemurs, for maintenance and social bonds. The long tail is used for balance, and warmth.
The crowned lemur like all lemurs are facing habitat loss and fragmentation, therefore populations are decreasing. The home range is small for crowned lemurs, they have significant overlap with neighboring groups. These lemurs are found in family groups of about 5 to 6, and are more active during the day. If the group is large enough over 10, during foraging times they will split into small sub groups.
Fruit makes up most of this animals diet, in the wet and dry season. During the wet season they will feed upon some leaves. In the dry season they will occasionally try other items, flowers, pollen and rarely will they try insects.
There is not extensive study in regards to their impact, as frugiovers and nectivores they are natural seed disperses, and pollinators for forest plants.
Crowned lemurs are most active in the day, but can be active at night if necessary.
Crowned lemurs have adapted to the presence of humans and have stretched their habitat choices to humid forests and the canopies which are different than the preferred dry forest or coastal edges. Also as in all primates various forms of communication is important. Crowned lemurs use a variety of sent, visual and auditory forms to communicate in various situations.
All lemurs operate in a matriarchal "female dominated" society, giving females more leverage in food and mate selections. When the family groups are together it mixed male and female. The group size can vary 5 to 15 members, during feeding this can be broken down into smaller groups. Specialized vocalizations are used to communicate over distances while the full group is separated for feeding.
Mating usually occurs in May and June, resulting in births around September and October. The earlier births will coincide with rainy weather and richer food availability. Individual and twin births are equally common. Nursing last for 5 to 6 months
1 to 2 infants
They are listed as a priority in terms of IUCN's conservation concern taxa. Today, conservation measures aim toward better management of these four reserves and educating local communities.
Oakland Zoo is a partner of Centre ValBio, on the edge of Ranomafana National Park in eastern Madagascar. Centre ValBio (http://www.stonybrook.edu/commcms/centre-valbio/index.html) promotes world class research while encouraging local environmental conservation and providing local villagers with the knowledge and tools to improve their quality of life. Oakland Zoo staff and volunteers have traveled to Centre ValBio multiple times to assist with these missions.
The biggest threats facing these animals are habitat destruction, hunting, and poaching. You can help these animals by educating others about the dangers they face, and by making philanthropic contributions to non-profit organization that work to conserve wildlife and natural habitat in Madagascar. Ecotourism is also a large source of funding for conservation projects in Madagascar.