You are here

Prolemur simus (Gray, 1871)

Scientific name: 
Scientist name: 
(Gray, 1871)
Varibolo, Varibolomavo (Ranomafana region), Godroka, Godrogodroka (Torotorofotsy region), Tan-Tang (Bay of Antongil), Bokombolobe, Reniben’ ny Kotrika, Halogodro (Soanierana- Ivongo), Varikovoka (Ambolomavo)
Greater Bamboo Lemur
Grosser Bambuslemur, Breitschnauzenmakiki
Other english: 
Broad-nosed Bamboo Lemur, Broad-nosed Gentle Lemur
Grand Hapalémur



Prolemur simus is the largest of the bamboo lemurs and is so distinct that it has been placed in its own genus. It has a head-body length of 40–42 cm, a tail length of 45–48 cm, a total length of 85–90 cm, and a weight of 2.2–2.5 kg (Meier et al., 1987; Kappeler, 1991). The dorsal coat, including the tail, is grayish-brown with a slight reddish tinge; the head, neck, shoulders and upper arms tend to be more olive-brown. There is a rusty-brown pygal patch. The ventral coat is a lighter creamy-brown. The muzzle is blunt and dark gray, and the most distinctive feature of this species is its white ear tufts. There is no sexual difference in body weight (Tan, 2000). Garbutt (2007) mentions a population of P. simus discovered on the Andringitra Massif which might be a distinct color morph, having uniformly a deep golden-red head, upperparts, throat and underparts, but with a gray-tipped tail. The face and muzzle are dark. Individuals in this area are also said to be different in having large and prominent ears that lack the white tufts so visible in animals from the main population. The identity of this population requires further investigation. The greater bamboo lemur is sympatric with Hapalemur griseus ranomafanensis in Ranomafana National Park, with Hapalemur meridionalis in Andringitra National Park, and with Hapalemur aureus in both of these protected areas. It might be confused with any of these bamboo lemurs or with Eulemur rufifrons if one does not get a clear look at the animal. It is much larger than the Hapalemur species and distinguishable from them by its prominent white ear tufts and blunter, broader face. It also lacks the golden face of H. aureus. The facial features and ear tufts of the greater bamboo lemur also distinguish it from the sympatric E. rufifrons, which is similar in size or slightly larger.