Monday, October 4, 2010

ABC Wednesday: L is for Lemur

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Lemurs are primates native and endemic (living nowhere else) to Madagascar. There are about 100 different species, many of which were discovered in the last 20 years. They were named after the Latin lemures, which refers to ghosts that the Romans exorcise during the Lemuria festival. Many lemurs are nocturnal, move silently and ghostlike and some are considered to be ghosts of ancestors, all of which contributed to their name.
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This and the group in the first picture are Ring-Tailed Lemurs (Lemur catta). Such a group huddling together is called a lemur ball (seriously!). Ring-Tailed lemurs are well known for sunbathing, with their legs spread wide and their face turned to the sun, like this. Their tails are much longer than their bodies and the lemurs use them for communication. When males fight, they will impregnate their tails with the scent from their wrists and wave them at each other, it's called a stink fight (again, seriously!). Females are attracted in the same fashion. I once had a close encounter with one of them and he was absolutely fascinated by my long hair - maybe he was puzzled why I was wearing my tail on my head. Their own fur is wonderfully soft and their hands are like warm, soft leather.

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These are Black and White Ruffed Lemurs (Varecia variegata).
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The Red Ruffed Lemur is closely related to them and they share their habitat, but they don't mingle. Both species eat mainly fruit, with a special liking for figs. They are rarely seen on the ground and spend most of their life high up in the canopy, jumping deftly from tree to tree and often feed while hanging upside like this
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Ruffed lemurs are very vocal and communicate with a wide range of calls. They for example have different alarm calls for predators on the ground and for birds of prey.
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There are many more lemur species. The Aye-Aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) is probably the most weird. My favourite lemur are the Sifakas, though, because of their charming method of getting around on the ground by jumping. I always expect them to make boing-boing noises when they do it. Here's a video:


Photos were taken at Hagenbecks Tierpark (Ring-Tailed Lemur), ZOOM Gelsenkirchen (Red Ruffed Lemur) and Tierpark Berlin (Black and White Ruffed Lemur).

See what else K stand for over at ABC Wednesday

20 comments:

RuneE said...

Once again something I have never seen before, and a famous one for that. Madagascar ought to be your M :-)

Sylvia K said...

Oh, I love the Lemur! What a great post for the L Day and your photos are delightful as always. And as always I learn something and that is always great! Enjoy your week!

Sylvia

Jingle said...

love the cute creatures.
beautiful L post.

Berowne said...

Great "L" topic, most interesting.

Cezar and Léia said...

Lemurs are so cute and this is a lovely choice for the L theme, such a beautiful critter!
hugs
Léia

Livsnjutaren said...

Wow, what amazing animals. And many wonderful pictures. Very good.

Roger Owen Green said...

Fascinating. For some reason, I forgot they were endemic to the one large island.

ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Barbara said...

Great post - really interesting. I love lemurs!

Wendy said...

I love Lemurs! At the L.A. zoo here, I used to be fascinated with the ring-tail lemurs and the babies are darling! You always post the unique and beautiful :)

Paula Scott said...

A lovely collection of lemur shots! I didn't realize there were so many different kinds. Such fascinating creatures, they are.

EG Wow said...

Ah, lemurs! They looks so cute in your photos.

Kay L. Davies said...

Well, the dancing ones turned out to be my favorite, but only after I decided on each of the others first. What a choice.
The tails of the ring-tailed lemur are amazing.
What a lovely addition to my day. Thank you.

Kay, Alberta

VioletSky said...

I was thinking of those dancing lemurs as I read your post - am so glad you included the video! There was a show on TV about lemur colonies, rather like Meerkat Manor that I used to watch.

Wanda said...

Oh my, what funny little guys...bouncing....bouncing, and bouncing!!!

I love coming and learning from you.

Thanks again!

Tumblewords: said...

They are such cuddly looking little critters!

Jama said...

I've seen them in our zoo, they are very tamed and would come near visitors. They are in a walk in enclosure.

Vernz said...

This is cool.. actually I just saw them on Geographic channel.. they're lovely fellas...

ABC Wednesday Here

Gramma Ann said...

I loved the video, all the jumping and setting it was interesting. Great choice for L day.

ChrisJ said...

I'd like to take a great big armful of those in that first photo! I like the jumping ones too, especially when they jump sideways. What a great post!

LyndaB said...

What a great post - I love lemurs. Fantastic pictures!