Like all sportive lemurs, Lepilemur septentrionalis is found on the island of Madagascar. Northern sportive lemurs are confined to the northern tip of Madagascar from the left bank of the Loky river to the coast. ("Lemurs", 2003)
Northern sportive lemurs live in dry, deciduous forests and more humid evergreen forests. They spend most of the day sleeping in tree holes or dense bundles of vines. Most sleep sites are 6 to 8 m above ground, but some have been found as low as 1 m. ("Lemurs", 2003; Garbutt, 1999; Richardson, 2005)
Northern sportive lemurs are among the smallest members of the genus Lepilemur. They grow to around 53 cm, with a head and body length averaging 28 cm and tail length averaging 25 cm. The average weight of northern sportive lemurs is 0.7 to 0.8 kg. Their coloration is grey-brown and is darkest at the crown. There is a dark grey stripe that begins at the crown and runs down the dorsal line. The underside is grey. Northern sportive lemurs have enlarged, fleshy pads on their hands and feet that improve their grasp on tree branches, making them agile in the trees. They have binocular vision and large eyes. They have a large caecum to accomodate their folivorous diet. The ears are much less prominent in L. septentrionalis than in other members of the genus Lepilemur. ("Lemurs", 2003; Garbutt, 1999; Richardson, 2005)
Male northern sportive lemurs are solitary and have territories that overlap those of one or more females. Males are polygynous and will visit each female in their territory during the mating season. ("Lemurs", 2003)
Within Lepilemur birthing happens between September and December, after a gestational period of 120 to 150 days. The young are weaned at four months, but can remain with the mother for up to a year, and they typically reach sexual maturity at around 18 months. Although there is little specific information on northern sportive lemurs, it is likely that reproduction is similar to other Lepilemur species. ("Sportive lemur", 2005)
Females give birth to one offspring each year. Offspring are raised entirely by the mother. The mother lives with and cares for the offspring by providing food and protection, but will leave the offspring on a branch when going to forage for food. (Richardson, 2005)
The lifespan of L. septentrionalis has not been specifically studied. However, members of the genus Lepilemur have lived as long as 15 years in captivity and have an average lifespan of about 8 years . It is likely that L. septentrionalis has a similar potential lifespan. ("Sportive lemur", 2005; Reynolds, 2005)
Lepilemur septentrionalis is arboreal and nocturnal. They sleep in tree holes or foliage of trees from heights of 1 to 8 m during the day. They cling to a tree in a vertical position and leap from that position. This leaping behavior is why this genus is called "sportive." Leaping is the primary mode of locomotion. (Richardson, 2005)
The solitary lives of males means that each has a territory, and the territory can overlap many female home ranges. The male breeds with each female in its territory during mating season. Males of this species will aggressively defend their territory. ("Northern Sportive Lemur (Lepilemur septentrionalis)", 2000; Richardson, 2005)
The home range for L. septentrionalis is not known. However, for L. leucopus, a member of the same genus, the average home range of a female is 0.18 hectares, and the average home range of a male is 0.3 hectares. It is likely that L. septentrionalis has a similarly sized home range. (Schreffler, 2000)
Northern sportive lemurs communicate through vocal communication or calls. There are two primary calls, a loud call and a contact rejection call. ("Northern Sportive Lemur (Lepilemur septentrionalis)", 2000; "Northern Sportive Lemur (Lepilemur septentrionalis)", 2000)
The loud call is a crow-like call used to indicate their presence and territorial claims. ("Lemurs", 2003)
The contact rejection call is a series of resonant hisses trailed by a two phase vocalization. This is heard when two individuals are close to each other in the wild. It also occurs in captivity if an individual is approached by a conspecific. ("Northern Sportive Lemur (Lepilemur septentrionalis)", 2000)
Also, many members of the genus Lepilemur engage in latrine behavior to scent mark their territorial boundaries. Therefore, it is likely that L. septentrionalis employs scent marking as a form of chemical communication. (Irwin, et al., 2004)
Northern sportive lemurs mainly feed on leaves, along with some flowers and fruit. They are cecotrophic, meaning they re-digest their own feces to break down the cellulose from the leaves even more. They do this because of the low energy value of leaves as a food source. (Richardson, 2005)
Northern sportive lemurs are preyed upon by Sanzinia madagascariensis, a boa species native to Madagascar, which takes the lemurs from their holes during the daytime, while they sleep. Also, members of the genus Lepilemur are sometimes hunted for food by humans, so it is likely that L. septentrionalis is hunted for food. Large birds of prey are also likely to prey on northern sportive lemurs. ("Lemurs", 2003)
Northern sportive lemurs are agile and wary, and try to avoid many predators by being inactive during the day and staying in the trees.
Northern sportive lemurs serve as prey to Sanzinia madagascariensis, a native boa species. Therefore, they have some effect on the local food webs. Also, because they are nocturnal folivores, they have an impact on the trees in the area. (Reynolds, 2005)
Northern sportive lemurs are sometimes hunted for food. The endemic lemur radiation in Madagascar is a rich natural heritage, with both research and ecotourism value. ("Lemurs", 2003)
There are no known negative effects of northern sportive lemurs on humans.
Northern sportive lemurs are listed as "Vulnerable" by the IUCN. They are at risk due to a loss of habitat from the slash and burn agricultural technique practiced in its area. They are also illegally hunted for food. The total population of the species is estimated to be between 10,000 and 100,000 individuals. All members of the genus Lepilemur are considered endangered by the U.S. Endangered species act and are on the CITES Appendix I. ("Lemurs", 2003; Richardson, 2005)
All sportive lemurs belong to the genus Lepilemur. In recent times, some regarded all forms as subspecies of Lepilemur mustelinus. However, due to genetic and morphological differences, these subspecific divisions became full species divisions. (Garbutt, 1999)
Tanya Dewey (editor), Animal Diversity Web.
Mike Benson (author), Kalamazoo College, Ann Fraser (editor, instructor), Kalamazoo College.
living in sub-Saharan Africa (south of 30 degrees north) and Madagascar.
uses sound to communicate
Referring to an animal that lives in trees; tree-climbing.
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
humans benefit economically by promoting tourism that focuses on the appreciation of natural areas or animals. Ecotourism implies that there are existing programs that profit from the appreciation of natural areas or animals.
animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.
union of egg and spermatozoan
an animal that mainly eats leaves.
A substance that provides both nutrients and energy to a living thing.
forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.
An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.
animals that live only on an island or set of islands.
offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
active during the night
having more than one female as a mate at one time
specialized for leaping or bounding locomotion; jumps or hops.
communicates by producing scents from special gland(s) and placing them on a surface whether others can smell or taste them
breeding is confined to a particular season
remains in the same area
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
uses touch to communicate
Living on the ground.
defends an area within the home range, occupied by a single animals or group of animals of the same species and held through overt defense, display, or advertisement
the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.
uses sight to communicate
reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.
2003. Lemurs. Pp. 83 in M Hutchins, D Kleiman, V Geist, M McDade, eds. Grizmek's Animal Life Encylopedia, Vol. 12: Mammals I, 2nd Edition. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group.
2000. "Northern Sportive Lemur (Lepilemur septentrionalis)" (On-line). Accessed October 20, 2005 at http://members.tripod.com/uakari/lepilemur_septentrionalis.html.
2005. "Sportive lemur" (On-line). Accessed November 21, 2005 at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megaladapidae.
Garbutt, N. 1999. Mammals of Madagascar. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Irwin, M., K. Samonds, J. Raharison, P. Wright. 2004. Lemur Latrines: Observations of Latrine Behavior in Wild Primates and Possible Ecological Significance. Journal of Mammalogy, 85/3: 420-427.
Reynolds, L. 2005. "Lepilemur leucopus" (On-line). Animal Diversity Web. Accessed November 23, 2005 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Lepilemur_leucopus.html..
Richardson, M. 2005. "Northern Sportive Lemur" (On-line). Accessed October 20, 2005 at http://www.arkive.org/species/GES/mammals/Lepilemur_septentrionalis/more_info.html.
Schreffler, C. 2000. "Lepilemur mustelinus" (On-line). Animal Diversity Web. Accessed November 10, 2005 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Lepilemur_mustelinus.html.