Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Lepilemur I. Geoffroy, 1851

Prosimian genus to which the sportive (or weasel) lemurs belong; confusion regarding taxonomy; some authors recognize one species with many subspecies that have different numbers of chromosomes, yet breed and produce reproductively viable hybrids with an intermediate number of chromosomes; more commonly in recent years workers recognize up to seven separate species. Formerly placed within the Lemuridae, but molecular evidence indicates it belongs to a separate family (Lepilemuridae or Megaladapidae depending on the source). Occupies variable types of forest throughout the peripheries of Madagascar. Arboreal; nocturnal; vertical clinging and leaping locomotion. Body mass ranges from 500 to 1000 g. The upper incisors are lost in the adult, but are present in the deciduous dentition. Adult dental formula: 32; folivorous. Noyau; territorial; these animals are referred to as sportive lemurs because they take a boxer’s pose when conspecifics encroach on their territory; territories delineated by sound.

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