Quantcast


Black-and-white ruffed lemur

By Rani Iyer




Black-and-white ruffed lemur

Scientific Name: Varecia variegata

The island of Madagascar is synonymous with lemurs: there are more than 100 types of lemurs living there today. Of these, the black-and-white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata) is considered critically endangered.

The black-and-white ruffed lemur is closely related to the red ruffed lemur. The ‘ruff’ consists of long hair that runs from the ears along the cheeks to beneath the chin.

You wouldn’t miss a black-and-white ruffed lemur in the Madagascar jungles for two reasons. Their ‘roar/shriek’ calls echo through the high canopy where they live. Their name ‘lemur’ means ‘ghost’ in Latin. Early explorers thought that ghosts made the shrieks in the forests of Madagascar. Second, they are active only during the day time (they are 'diurnal'). The black-and-white ruffed lemur is entirely arboreal. It communicates in the canopy layer by scent marking.

Fruits of all kinds are the favorite food of this house-cat sized lemur. They also eat small amounts of nectar, leaves, flowers, buds, fungi, and soil.

Black-and-white ruffed lemurs are social creatures that form groups around food. When food is available in plenty, the group size increases to about 26. At lean times, the group size falls to three or four.

The feeding habits of the black-and-white ruffed lemur also help other species, even though the lemur probably doesn't realize it. For example, when the black-and-white ruffed lemur feeds on the sugary nectar of the travelers' palm, it inadvertently transfers pollen from one flower to another. In the process it pollinates the plant and helps ensure further generations of palm trees.

Unlike other lemurs, ruffed lemurs build nests when it is time to have babies. Twins are normal for the black-and-white ruffed lemur, but they can also have up to 6 babies at a time! You would think that having 6 babies would be enough to fill up the forest in no time but most babies die due to falling accidents. For those that survive, there are not enough trees—Madagascar's forests are being cut down for timber and agriculture. Deforestation robs lemurs not only of their home, but their food source, since tall rainforest trees are an important source of fruit.

The black-and-white ruffed lemur is also hunted as food by humans, putting the species at further risk. Given these threats, saving the black-and-white ruffed lemur will require a great deal of effort. Will we be able to do it?

Teacher resources:
  • Lemur Conservation Foundation
  • Lemur lesson plan
  • California Academy of Sciences Lemurs in America

    More pictures of black-and-white ruffed lemurs


    Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur (Varecia variegata)



    Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur (Varecia variegata)



    Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur hanging in a tree



    Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur hanging in a tree



    White ruffed lemur feeding on tamarind



    Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur hanging in a tree



    Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur (Varecia variegata)



    Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur (Varecia variegata)



    Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur hanging in a tree



    White ruffed lemur (Nosy Mangabe)



    Varecia variegata variegata feeding on tamarind (Nosy Mangabe)



    Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur (Varecia variegata)



    Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur hanging in a tree



    Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur (Varecia variegata)



    Varecia variegata variegata lemur (Nosy Mangabe)



    Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur (Varecia variegata)



    Varecia variegata variegata



    Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur (Varecia variegata)



    Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur hanging in a tree



    Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur hanging in a tree



    White ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata variegata) (Nosy Mangabe)



    Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur hanging in a tree



    Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur (Varecia variegata)



    Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur hanging in a tree



    Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur (Varecia variegata)



    Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur (Varecia variegata)



    Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur (Varecia variegata)



    Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur hanging in a tree



    Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur hanging in a tree



    Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur (Varecia variegata)



    Black-and-white ruffed lemur



    Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur hanging in a tree



    Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur hanging in a tree



    Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur (Varecia variegata)



    Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur (Varecia variegata) with radio collar



    Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur hanging in a tree



    Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur (Varecia variegata)



    Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur (Varecia variegata)



    Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur (Varecia variegata)



    Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur (Varecia variegata)



    Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur hanging in a tree



    Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur (Varecia variegata)



    Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur (Varecia variegata)




    Animal profiles

    Birds
    Bare-Faced Ibis
    Blue and Gold Macaw
    Common Potoo
    Green Honeycreeper
    Grey Winged Trumpeter
    Harpy Eagle
    Hoatzin
    Horned Screamer
    Jabiru Stork
    Malachite Kingfisher
    Mealy Parrot
    Northern Cassowary
    Savanna hawk
    Scale-crested pygmy-tyrant
    Rhinoceros Hornbill
    Scarlet Ibis
    Wattled Jacana

    Mammals
    Asian black bear
    Black-and-white ruffed lemur
    Black-faced spider monkey
    Bornean Rhino
    Brown capuchin monkey
    Capybara [2nd profile]
    Coquerel's Sifaka
    Crowned Lemur
    Eastern Long Beaked Echidna
    Howler Monkey
    Kinkajou
    Malagasy Giant Jumping Rat
    Malayan Tapir
    Margay
    Mountain Gorilla
    Plains Zebra not a rainforest species
    Puma
    South American tapir
    South American coatimundi
    Spectral Tarsier
    Spider Monkey
    Squirrel Monkeys
    White-lipped peccary
    Woolly Monkey


    Reptiles
    Green Basilisk
    Leatherback Sea Turtle not a rainforest species
    Pygmy stump-tailed chameleon
    Spectacled Caiman


    Amphibians
    Giant Chinese Salamander
    Gladiator Tree Frog
    Green Poison Arrow Frog
    Indian Purple Frog
    Monkey Frog
  • Follow mongabay kids on Twitter

    All about Rainforests
    Sponsor(s)


    FAQs

  • May I use graphics from mongabay.com for my projects? Yes, you may provided that you don't remove the mongabay label from the images. You may use information from the site for class projects and can cite kids.mongabay.com as the source.
  • Can I interview the founder of mongabay.com for my school project? Unfortunately due to the large number of requests and the need to work on the main mongabay.com site, Rhett (the person who runs mongabay.com) is not available for interviews. However he has answered some common questions on the Rainforest Interview page.
  • Do you have any games or activities? Currently there are a few on the resources page. There may be more in the future.
  • Who are some scientists who study rainforests? Take a look at the Interviews with rainforest experts page.
  • How can I help save rainforests? Some ideas are listed on the Rainforest Solutions page.
  • Where can I learn more about rainforests? There is a wealth of information at the main rainforest site

    Simplified version (fewer images and links)


  • home | teacher resources | rainforest books for kids | other languages | about the site | main rainforest site | help support the site | search | contact

    ©2008 mongabay.com