Eulemur fulvus (É. Geoffroy, 1796)

Scientific name: 
Scientist name: 
(É. Geoffroy, 1796)
English: 
Brown Lemur
Other english: 
Common Brown Lemur
French: 
Lémur brun
German: 
Brauner Maki
Malagasy: 
Varika, Varike, Varikosy, Akomba, Gidro, Dedrika (between Mampikony and Port-Bergé), Varikafasin, (Andasibe region), Varikamava (Andasibe region) Comoros Islands: Komba Mainty
Taxa: 

Species

Identification

Eulemur fulvus is a medium-sized lemur with a head-body length of 43–50 cm, a tail length of 41–51 cm, an overall length of a little more than a meter, and a body weight of 1.7–2.1 kg (C. Schwitzer, pers. obs.). Males and females are similarly colored. The dorsal coat is brown to gray-brown and the ventral coat is paler, tending toward gray. The face, muzzle and crown are dark brown to almost black, the beard is lighter, and patches of light fur above the eyes are variable. Animals in the northern part of this lemur’s range have large light patches over the eyes, while the eye patches of animals from more southerly populations may be barely discernible. The eyes are orange-red. In the field, E. fulvus is most likely to be confused with the mongoose lemur (Eulemur mongoz) in the west and the red-bellied lemur (E. rubriventer) in the east, especially if only a fleeting glimpse of the animal is obtained. Eulemur mongoz tends to be grayer and exhibits sexually dimorphic coloration, as does E. rubriventer. Male red-bellied lemurs also have distinctive white “tear-drops” beneath their eyes, and females have white fur on the throat, chest and abdomen. Eulemur fulvus is usually more active and visible and moves in larger groups than these two species, which also facilitates distinguishing it from its congeners. The population of this species on Mayotte shows many signs of being a hybrid swarm, composed mainly of E. fulvus founders but with features of a number of other brown lemur species (Mittermeier et al., 2008c). Further genetic investigation on this population would be interesting, but we do not consider it to be taxonomically distinct.