- Every Tuesday, Mongabay brings you a new episode of Candid Animal Cam, our show featuring animals caught on camera traps around the world and hosted by Romi Castagnino, our writer and conservation scientist.
Camera traps bring you closer to the secretive natural world and are an important conservation tool to study wildlife. This week we’re meeting a species endemic to Madagascar: the red-fronted lemur (Eulemur rufifrons).
Lemurs are the most endangered mammal group in the world and are native only to the island of Madagascar. Until 2001, the red-fronted lemurs were considered a subspecies of the common brown lemur, but after genetic studies, it was classified as its own species. Red-fronted lemurs are about the size of a house cat and are sexually dichromatic, meaning that males and females have different fur patterns: males are gray to gray-brown, and females are reddish-brown. Lemurs establish and reinforce social bonds within groups by a unique way of grooming. They have six lower teeth that stick straight out from their jaw, forming a dental comb that they use to groom their fur and that of other members of their group. As opposed to other lemurs, the red-fronted lemurs don’t live in a female-dominated society, although females do play a key role in choosing and guiding the group to food sources. Human activities such as logging and pasture clearing are greatly threatening the persistence of their habitats, and according to the IUCN, this species of lemur is one of the most commonly hunted lemurs in all of Madagascar making them Vulnerable to extinction. Watch the video to learn more about this species!
Special thanks to Pamela Narváez-Torres and Nicola Guthrie for sharing this footage with us. Their research focuses on the effects of human activities and introduced species presence on the diversity of fifteen threatened lemur species in the Southeast of Madagascar. They use arboreal (average height= 10m) and ground (average height= 0.4m) camera traps to collect data on the occupancy of lemur and introduced species. The study will help inform how conservation measures are working in the area and will support future planning. The research was funded by Global Wildlife Conservation through the Lemur Conservation Action Fund, the American Society of Primatologists, and Primate Conservation Inc, and include the following project collaborators: Devin Chen, Olivia Tiafinjaka, Dr. Ed Louis Jr. and Dr. Steig Johnson.
Review questions for educators
These questions can help provide a framework for exploring the topics presented in this story.
- What threats do lemurs face?
- Name 2 ways lemurs socialize with one another.
- What is one way red-fronted lemurs protect themselves from predators?
Banner photo by Pamela Narváez-Torres
Romi Castagnino is Mongabay’s bilingual writer. Find her on Twitter and Instagram: @romi_castagnino
Correction: This post has been updated to reflect the actual red-fronted lemur’s IUCN status: Vulnerable and not Near Threatened.