Know Your Primate: Phaner furcifer

Order: Primates
Suborder: Strepsirrhini
Family: Cheirogaleidae
Genus: Phaner
Species: Phaner furcifer
Common Name: Fork-marked lemur
Within the genus Phaner there are four subspecies: Phaner electromontis (Amber Mountain fork-crowned lemur), Phaner furcifer (forked-marked dwarf lemur), Phaner pallescens (western fork-crowned lemur) and Phaner parienti (Sambirano fork-crowned lemur)

The fork-marked lemur is one of the larger cheirogaleids. They reside throughout most of Madagascar, but are most common in the western part of the island. They eat primarily gum and, consequently, have a number of adaptations to that diet. They have large hands and feet with large digital pads and keeled claws for clinging to trees. maxillary and mandibular incisors are procumbent. The canines and upper premolars are also quite long. They have a long, narrow tongue and a large caecum (to chemically break down the gum). They are monogamous and seem to be permanently paired. They are nocturnal and the male follows the female – who seems to have first choice at feeding sites. They also seem to be highly vocal, emitting some 30 vocalizations (on average) per hour.
You can see the expanded digital pads in the above picture. Also note the fat, bushy tail.


One Response

  1. hm. I would not have guessed the animal in the top picture and the animal in the bottom picture to be of the same species. I suppose I’d make a poor primatologist.

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