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Red ruffed lemurs and white-and-black ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegata) can hybridize. Such interactions produce black, white, and red offspring. This species was previously recognized as a subspecies of V. variegata: Varecia variegata rubra.

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Frailey, K. 2008. "Varecia rubra" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Varecia_rubra.html
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Kerstin Frailey, Yale University
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Eric Sargis, Yale University
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Tanya Dewey, Animal Diversity Web
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Behavior

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Red ruffed lemurs are very vocal; they bark to each other in a guttural yap. Their vocalizations convey a number of distinct messages. Alarm calls are used to warn group members of nearby predators. While foraging, vocalizations help scattered groups keep together. Red ruffed lemurs also use calls to warn other groups that a territory is already occupied or being used for foraging. Red ruffed lemurs also communicate through scent. Groups are identified through the smells produced in glands on their rears.

Communication Channels: acoustic ; chemical

Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

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Frailey, K. 2008. "Varecia rubra" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Varecia_rubra.html
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Kerstin Frailey, Yale University
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Eric Sargis, Yale University
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Tanya Dewey, Animal Diversity Web
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Conservation Status

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The International Union for Conservation of Nature acknowledges that red ruffed lemurs are critically endangered, but currently only recognize them at the subspecies level (Varecia variegata rubra). Varecia is classified as endangered, along with all members of Lemuridae by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora lists species in the family Lemuridae in Appendix I. Threats to red ruffed lemurs are mainly from deforestation, hunting, and live capture. The Masoala National Forest now protects some of their habitat from further destruction.

US Federal List: endangered

CITES: appendix i

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: endangered

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Frailey, K. 2008. "Varecia rubra" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Varecia_rubra.html
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Kerstin Frailey, Yale University
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Eric Sargis, Yale University
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Tanya Dewey, Animal Diversity Web
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Benefits

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There are no known adverse effects of V. rubra on humans.

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Frailey, K. 2008. "Varecia rubra" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Varecia_rubra.html
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Kerstin Frailey, Yale University
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Benefits

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Red ruffed lemurs are trapped and hunted by the local community. These lemurs are brought into the live animal and pet market. Hunted lemurs provide meat for locals. Lemurs as a group positively affect Malagasy tourism because they are found no where else on earth naturally.

Positive Impacts: pet trade ; food ; ecotourism

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Frailey, K. 2008. "Varecia rubra" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Varecia_rubra.html
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Kerstin Frailey, Yale University
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Eric Sargis, Yale University
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Tanya Dewey, Animal Diversity Web
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Associations

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Red ruffed lemurs play an integral role in pollination for many hardwood tree varieties in their range. The long, fox-like snouts of these lemurs are covered with pollen after feeding from the nectar of deep, tubular flowers. The next flower fed on receives this pollen.

Ecosystem Impact: disperses seeds; pollinates

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Frailey, K. 2008. "Varecia rubra" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Varecia_rubra.html
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Kerstin Frailey, Yale University
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Eric Sargis, Yale University
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Tanya Dewey, Animal Diversity Web
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Trophic Strategy

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Red ruffed lemurs eat mostly fruit, nectar, and pollen. During the dry season, when food is scarce, these lemurs also occasionally eat some leaves and seeds. When feeding on the nectar of flowers, red ruffed lemurs play a vital role in the pollination of some hardwood trees. Like all lemurs, red ruffed lemurs have insectivorous dentition slightly modified for frugivory. In addition, the toothcomb used for grooming enables easier peeling of fruit.

Plant Foods: leaves; seeds, grains, and nuts; fruit; nectar; pollen

Primary Diet: herbivore (Frugivore , Nectarivore )

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Frailey, K. 2008. "Varecia rubra" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Varecia_rubra.html
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Kerstin Frailey, Yale University
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Eric Sargis, Yale University
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Tanya Dewey, Animal Diversity Web
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Distribution

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Varecia rubra (red ruffed lemur) currently lives, along with all extant lemurs, on the island-nation of Madagascar. Red ruffed lemurs inhabit the deciduous tropical forests of the Masoala Peninsula near Maroansetra. The Masoala Peninsula is one of the top conservation efforts in Madagascar. Its rich biodiversity includes more than just red ruffed lemurs: white-fronted brown lemurs, and aye-ayes also live there. Primates represent only a few of the taxonomic reasons why the Masoala National Park was created in the late 1990s.

The Antainambalana River dissects the Peninsula area, separating the range of red ruffed lemurs from their close relatives, black-and-white ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegata).

Biogeographic Regions: ethiopian (Native )

Other Geographic Terms: island endemic

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Frailey, K. 2008. "Varecia rubra" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Varecia_rubra.html
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Kerstin Frailey, Yale University
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Tanya Dewey, Animal Diversity Web
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Habitat

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Red ruffed lemurs prefer the deciduous tropical forests of the Masoala Peninsula, although about 400 live elsewhere in captivity. This area is elevated up to 1006 m in areas. Red ruffed lemurs generally remain in the upper canopy of their tropical rainforest.

Average elevation: 1006 m.

Habitat Regions: temperate ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: forest ; rainforest

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Frailey, K. 2008. "Varecia rubra" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Varecia_rubra.html
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Kerstin Frailey, Yale University
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Eric Sargis, Yale University
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Tanya Dewey, Animal Diversity Web
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Life Expectancy

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Though infant death is common due to falling from nesting sites and other accidents, red ruffed lemurs generally live in the wild for 15 to 20 years. The greatest threat to red ruffed lemurs are habitat destruction, hunting, and animal trade.

Typical lifespan
Status: wild:
15 (low) years.

Average lifespan
Status: wild:
20 years.

Typical lifespan
Status: captivity:
19 (high) years.

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Frailey, K. 2008. "Varecia rubra" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Varecia_rubra.html
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Kerstin Frailey, Yale University
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Eric Sargis, Yale University
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Tanya Dewey, Animal Diversity Web
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Morphology

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Varecia rubra gets its common name from a ruff of rust red hair that flanks its black face like sideburns. The black face matches the black hands, feet, belly, and tail. Most of the body is covered by a soft, thick, rust red coat, except for a patch of white fur at the back of the head. Possibly its beautifully contrasting coat is the reason why many consider red ruffed lemurs to be the most beautiful lemurs. Varecia rubra is the largest member of Lemuridae. Red ruffed lemurs average 60 cm in body length and their tails average 50 cm. Females tend to outweigh males. Red ruffed lemurs have specialized claws on their second toe, used to brush through their long, woolly fur. Because, like all prosimians (Strepsirrhini), red ruffed lemurs are digitally uncoordinated, they have evolved other methods to groom. The dentition is specialized to form a toothcomb made up of the six bottom incisors.

Range mass: 3.4 to 3.5 kg.

Range length: 110 to 120 cm.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry

Sexual Dimorphism: female larger

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Frailey, K. 2008. "Varecia rubra" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Varecia_rubra.html
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Kerstin Frailey, Yale University
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Tanya Dewey, Animal Diversity Web
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Associations

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Red ruffed lemurs give alarm calls to warn other members of their group of approaching predators. Fossas (Cryptoprocta ferox), are the only natural predators of red ruffed lemurs. Recently, human hunting also poses a major predation threat.

Known Predators:

  • fossas (Cryptoprocta ferox)
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Frailey, K. 2008. "Varecia rubra" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Varecia_rubra.html
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Kerstin Frailey, Yale University
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Tanya Dewey, Animal Diversity Web
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Reproduction

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Red ruffed lemurs are polygynous. Males monitor females for signs of estrus and then solicit opportunities to mate with them. This solicitation behavior is stereotyped and consists of a submissive approach, coupled with a squeal. Males also scent mark often in the presence of estrus females, sniff and lick their genitals, emit a shrieking chorus with females, and rub their bodies against each other. Group males more frequently mate with females from their same group. But stranger males may also enter a group's territory to mate with estrus females.

Mating System: polygynous

Red ruffed lemurs breed in the dry season from May to July. Although the group breeds for three months, an individual female only goes into estrus for at most a few days and is only fertile for one day. Red ruffed lemurs give birth to litters, which can contain as many as 6 infants. Gestation lasts between 90 and 103 days, which is particularly brief for a primate of this body size. When an infant reaches 4 months of age, it is weaned. Red ruffed lemurs reach sexual maturity after 2 years.

Breeding interval: Red ruffed lemurs breed once a year.

Breeding season: Breeding occurs from May to July.

Range number of offspring: 2 to 6.

Average number of offspring: 3.

Range gestation period: 90 to 103 days.

Average weaning age: 40 months.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 2 years.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization ; viviparous

Reproduction is costly for female red ruffed lemurs. Despite being large lemurs, female red ruffed lemurs have relatively short gestation periods and give birth to multiple offspring. To counter these reproductive costs, females leave their litters in nests or stashing locations, called parking, in the mother’s core area. While mothers travel into the forest, community members of the core area care for the young. This form of alloparenting is commonly practiced in red ruffed lemur communities, reducing maternal reproductive costs.

Parental Investment: altricial ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female)

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Frailey, K. 2008. "Varecia rubra" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Varecia_rubra.html
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Kerstin Frailey, Yale University
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Red ruffed lemur

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Red ruffed lemur (Varecia rubra) head.jpg

The red ruffed lemur (Varecia rubra) is one of two species in the genus Varecia, the ruffed lemurs; the other is the black-and-white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata). Like all lemurs, it is native to Madagascar. It occurs only in the rainforests of Masoala, in the northeast of the island.[1] It is one of the largest primates of Madagascar with a body length of 53 cm, a tail length of 60 cm and a weight of 3.3–3.6 kg. Its soft, thick fur is red and black in color and sports a buff or cream colored spot at the nape, but a few are known to have a white or pink patch on the back of the limbs or digits and a ring on the base of the tail in a similar color.

Physical characteristics

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Red ruffed lemur in detail

Ruffed lemurs are the largest members of the family Lemuridae,[4] with this species being the larger of the two. They weigh 3.3–3.6 kg (7.3–7.9 lb).[5] They are about 53 cm (21 in) long, with a 60 cm (24 in) tail.[6] Females are slightly larger than males.[7] They have slender bodies and long legs. Red ruffed lemurs have a narrow snout with small back ears that are sometimes hidden by their long fur. They groom themselves using their toothcomb.

As their name would suggest, they have a rust-coloured ruff and body. Their heads, stomachs, tails, feet, and the insides of their legs are black. They have a white patch on the back of their neck, and may also have white markings on their feet or mouth.[7]

Behavior

 src=
Red ruffed lemurs grooming each other.

The red ruffed lemur is a very clean animal and spends a lot of time grooming itself and in social grooming. The lower incisors (front teeth) and the claw on the second toe of the hind foot are specially adapted for this behavior. The lower incisors grow forward in line with each other and are slightly spaced. This creates a toothcomb which can be used to groom its long, soft fur. The claw is also used for grooming.

The red ruffed lemur lives 15–20 years in the wild. In captivity, 25 years is not uncommon, and one lived to be about 33 years old. It is a diurnal animal, and most active in the morning and evening.[8]

Social systems

 src=
A pair of red ruffed lemurs drinking

This primate typically lives in small, matriarchal groups of 2–16 individuals, but group sizes of up to 32 have been recorded. Its diet consists primarily of fruit, nectar, and pollen. Leaves and seeds may be eaten when fruit becomes scarce.[6] Red ruffed lemurs will sometimes form large groups during the wet season when food is plentiful. They will all find one food source and forage together as a group. During the dry season they will often separate and find food on their own when fruits are scarce . This is unusual behavior as most other diurnal lemurs will stay together and forage in large groups even during the dry season.[6] Field studies suggest that red ruffed lemurs, like black-and-white ruffed lemurs, may be found in monogamous pairs or in small, organized groups. Individuals out in the forest communicate through loud booming calls, which can be heard over considerable distances.[9]

Breeding and reproduction

Red ruffed lemurs reach sexual maturity at about 2 years of age, and start reproducing at about 3 years of age.[4] Unlike all other diurnal primates,[6] females keep their infants in nests 10–20 meters above the forest floor, made with twigs, leaves, vines, and fur. Like all lemurs, and many Madagascan mammals, it has a fixed breeding season which takes place towards the end of the dry season (May to July). This is so the young can be born in the wet season when more food is available. Ruffed lemurs are also the only primates with litters of young, and, after a gestation period of 102 days, the female may give birth to up to six, although two or three is more typical. Newborns have fur and can see, but as they cannot move, the female leaves them in the nest until they are seven weeks old. Females can nurse up to six infants at the same time. Infant red ruffed lemurs are not as well developed at birth as other lemurs. This is not surprising because red ruffed lemurs have extremely short gestation periods. At birth, infants are not able to hold onto the mother. When she moves the infants she picks them up one by one. Mothers usually move their infants away from the nest after a week or two. When she forages she leaves her infants in a nearby tree. In the few days after she gives birth, if the mother needs to leave the nest, the father will stand guard.[10] Weaning occurs at four months.[7] It is estimated that 65% of young do not reach three months of age, and often die by falling from the trees.[6]

Diet

The red ruffed lemur is mainly a fruit-eater, though it is known to eat leaves and shoots. They especially like figs.[11]

Communication

The Duke Lemur Center has recorded about twelve different calls. The red ruffed lemur and Black-and-White Ruffed Lemur understand each other's calls, despite living in different parts of Madagascar. Scent marking is also an important means of communication.[6]

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List states that the red ruffed lemur is critically endangered. Logging, burning of habitat, cyclones, mining, hunting, and the illegal pet trade are primary threats. They also have natural predators such as large snakes, eagles, and the fossa.[1][12] The creation of the Masoala National Park in 1997 has helped protect this species, but many red ruffed lemurs do not live within the park's boundaries, and are still at high risk.[6]

Recent studies show that they are critically endangered with a declining wild population. Illegal logging has increased since 2009, which has reduced the available forest habitat.[1] Illegal logging for valuable tropic hardwoods, such as rosewood, is a particular threat, and linked to political instability.[13] The captive population of red ruffed lemurs stands at 590 animals. The population of red ruffed lemurs is directed by a Species Survival Plan.[13] Several of these zoos work with each other in breeding and caring for the captive population. To prevent inbreeding, wild caught animals have been introduced to the captive breeding program.

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Borgerson, C.; Eppley, T.M.; Patel, E.; Johnson, S.; Louis, E.E.; Razafindramanana, J. (2020). "Varecia rubra". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2020: e.T22920A115574598. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-2.RLTS.T22920A115574598.en. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  2. ^ "Checklist of CITES Species". CITES. UNEP-WCMC. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  3. ^ Groves, C. P. (2005). Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 117. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. OCLC 62265494.
  4. ^ a b "Donor Login - Woodland Park Zoo Seattle WA". Zoo.org. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  5. ^ Mittermeier, R.A.; Louis, E.E.; Richardson, M.; Schwitzer, C.; et al. (2010). Lemurs of Madagascar. Illustrated by S.D. Nash (3rd ed.). Conservation International. pp. 303–323. ISBN 978-1-934151-23-5. OCLC 670545286.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "Duke Primate Center red ruffed lemur". Archived from the original on 2011-03-05. Retrieved 2006-04-05.
  7. ^ a b c "red ruffed lemur factsheet". Archived from the original on November 12, 2006. Retrieved 2007-04-16.
  8. ^ "Animal Info – Ruffed Lemur". Animalinfo.org. Retrieved 2007-04-16.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-01. Retrieved 2012-03-25.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-08. Retrieved 2012-03-25.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Bristol Zoo gardens: red ruffed lemur". Bristolzoo.org.uk. Archived from the original on June 29, 2009. Retrieved June 24, 2009.
  12. ^ "Red Ruffed Lemur: The Animal Files". Theanimalfiles.com. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  13. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-08. Retrieved 2012-03-25.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

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Red ruffed lemur: Brief Summary

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Red ruffed lemur (Varecia rubra) head.jpg

The red ruffed lemur (Varecia rubra) is one of two species in the genus Varecia, the ruffed lemurs; the other is the black-and-white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata). Like all lemurs, it is native to Madagascar. It occurs only in the rainforests of Masoala, in the northeast of the island. It is one of the largest primates of Madagascar with a body length of 53 cm, a tail length of 60 cm and a weight of 3.3–3.6 kg. Its soft, thick fur is red and black in color and sports a buff or cream colored spot at the nape, but a few are known to have a white or pink patch on the back of the limbs or digits and a ring on the base of the tail in a similar color.

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