Bio Facts: Lemur, Black-and-white Ruffed
Black and White Ruffed Lemur
Varecia variegata variegata
Central and southern portions of the east coast of Madagascar
The long, dense fur is primarily black with white areas on the limbs. The face is covered by shorter hair. The length of the head and body is about 21.5 inches, with the tail being nearly 24 inches long. The ears are hidden behind large tufts of fur. Females are larger than males.
Up to 19 years
In the wild, they eat vegetable matter - leaves, sap, nectar, and fruit. In the Zoo, they are fed monkey chow, apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, celery, cucumber, and romaine lettuce
USF&WS – Endangered, CITES I, IUCN – Endangered, AZA – SSP
Black and white ruffed lemurs are crepuscular (active at twilight). They live in pair bonded families. Breeding usually occurs between May and July. The gestation period is 90 to 102 days. Females give birth to 1 to 3 young with a high rate of twinning. Black and white and red ruffed lemurs are the only lemurids that leave their young in a nest. While mothers forage, young may be “parked” on a branch or in a nest. Otherwise, mothers carry infants around in their mouths until approximately 3 weeks old. Infants are mobile at 7 weeks of age.
The lemurs reside in a hollow tree during the day to sleep. They are arboreal and rarely found on the ground
Territory is marked by vocalizations and by scent. A distinct odor is left behind on leaves, branches and fruits when they rub their palms on these surfaces.
The long tail is used for balance. A sharp claw on the index finger is used for grooming.
There are two subspecies of ruffed lemur – black and white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata variegata) and the red ruffed lemur (V. v. rubra).
Black and white ruffed lemurs are the largest members of the family Lemuridae.
The word lemur in Latin (lemures) means ghost.
Not much is known about the ruffed lemurs behavior or lifestyle.
The black and white ruffed lemur population is declining due to habitat destruction, commercial exportation and hunting.
Jacksonville Zoo History:
The first black-and-white ruffed lemurs first arrived in June 1984. This species has successfully bred here. The first red-ruffed lemurs arrived in May 1999.