Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Black and White Ruffed Lemur

Varecia variegata

Like all lemur species, black-and-white ruffed lemurs can only be found in Madagascar. They have a distinctive white ruff around their necks and bright yellow eyes.

Range & Habitat

Eastern rainforests of Madagascar.

Conservation Status: Critically Endangered

Critically endangered due to habitat loss and hunting.

Diet

In the Wild: Fruit, nectar of Bauhinia (orchid) trees, pollen, seeds and leaves. At the Zoo: Primate biscuits, canned primate diet, greens, sweet potatoes, broccoli and a variety of fruit.

Life Span

In the Wild: 19 years; In Human Care: up to 35 years.

Fun Facts about the Black and White Ruffed Lemur

  • Black and white ruffed lemurs use several different vocalizations to communicate, as well as scent marking to signal their presence.
  • Black and white ruffed lemurs are excellent pollinators and have a mutualistic relationship with a tree in Madagascar called a traveler’s palm. The lemurs obtain nectar from the tree’s flowers using their long snouts and tongues, while the pollen of the flowers collects on the lemurs and is transported to the next tree.
  • Black and white ruffed lemurs have 6 bottom teeth that project away from their jaws, called a dental comb, which they use to groom themselves and others.
  • Black and white ruffed lemurs are important in seed dispersal. As they eat certain fruits, the seeds pass through their gut undigested and are excreted onto the forest floor.

Sources

Black & White Ruffed Lemur – Fun Facts & Information For Kids. (2019). Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://www.folly-farm.co.uk/zoo/meet-the-zoo-animals/black-and-white-ruffed-lemur/

Black and White Ruffed Lemur. (2020, February 17). Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://lemur.duke.edu/discover/meet-the-lemurs/black-white-ruffed-lemur/

Black-and-white ruffed lemur. (2018, November 23). Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/black-and-white-ruffed-lemur

Hale, M. (2019). Varecia variegata (variegated lemur). Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Varecia_variegata/

Saint Louis Zoo. (2020). Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://www.stlzoo.org/animals/abouttheanimals/mammals/lemursmonkeysapes/blackandwhiteruffedlem01

Updated February 2, 2021
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