Primate of the week: Greater Bamboo Lemur

Prolemur Simus



Suborder: Strepsirrhini

Infraorder: Lemuriformes

Superfamily: Lemuroidea

Family: Lemuridae


Greater bamboo lemurs are the largest bamboo lemur. It has a short and broad muzzle (Groves, 2001). They have a reddish gray brown back and tail and an olive brown head, neck and arms. Their stomachs are cream colored with a rusty brown pygal patch (Muschler and Tan, 2003; Mittermeier et al. 2006). They have whitish gray and a dark gray face (Garbutt, 1999). They also have large glands above their elbows (Grove, 2001). Greater bamboo lemur females have four nipples (Ankel –Simmons, 2007).


Greater bamboo lemurs mainly move quadrepedally on horizontal supports and leaping between vertical supports (Andriaholinirina et al., 2003).


Greater bamboo lemurs are located only in Madagascar (Godfrey et al., 2004). They are found within primary and degraded eastern humid forests with large wood bamboos (Mutschler and Tan, 2003). Greater bamboo lemurs diet mainly consists of giant bamboo (Cathariostachys madagascariensis), as well as other bamboo species, and grasses (Tan, 1999; Tan 2003).


Greater bamboo lemurs eat the bamboo through puncturing the stalks and peeling off pieces (Yamashita et al., 2009).


Greater bamboo lemurs live in groups of seven to eleven individuals (Mutschler & Tan, 2003; Tan 2006; Wright et al., 2008). Groups tend to be polygynous (Andriaholinirina et al., 2003; Tan, 2006). Greater bamboo lemurs also have mating season in the late May and June with the birth season occurring October and November (Mutschler and Tan, 2003; Tan 2006). The interbirth ratio is on year and gestation is 149 days (Mutschler and Tan, 2003). Greater bamboo lemurs do not park their infants and instead carry their young all the time in the first four months of life (Mutschler and Tan, 2003; Tan 2006) Infants are weaned at 8 months old and begin eating bamboo at 8 weeks olds (Tan, 2006).


Work Cited

Andriaholinirina VN, Fausser J-L, Rabarivola JC. 2003. Étude comparative de Hapalemur simus (Gray, 1870) de deux sites de la province autonome de Fianarantsoa, Madagascar: forêt secondaire do Park National de Ranomafana. Lemur News 8:9-13.

Ankel-Simons F. 2007. Primate anatomy: an introduction, third edition. San Diego: Elsevier. 724p.

Groves C. 2001. Primate taxonomy. Washington DC: Smithsonian Inst Pr. 350 p.

Mutschler T, Tan CL. 2003. Hapalemur, bamboo or gentle lemurs. In: Goodman SM, Benstead JP, editors. The natural history of Madagascar. Chicago: U Chicago Pr. p1324-9.

Tan CL. 2000. Behavior and ecology of three sympatric bamboo lemur species (genus Hapalemur) in Ranomafana national Park, Madagascar. PhD dissertation, State University of New York, Stony Brook. Tan CL. 2006. Behavior and ecology of gentle lemurs (Genus Hapalemur). In: Gould L, Sauther ML, editors. Lemurs: ecology and adaptation. New York: Springer. p 369-81.

Tan CL. 1999. Group composition, home range size, and diet of three sympatric bamboo lemur species (Genus Hapalemur) in Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar. Int J Primatol 20(4):547-66.

Wright PC, Johnson SE, Irwin MT, Jacobs R, Schlichting P, Lehman S, Louis Jr EE, Arrigo-Nelson SJ, Raharison J-L, Rafalirarison RR, Razafindratsita V, Ratsimbazafy J, Ratelolahy FJ, Dolch R, Tan C. 2008. The crisis of critically endangered greater bamboo lemur (Prolemur simus). Prim Conserv 23:5-17.

Wright PC, Larney E, Louis Jr. EE, Dolch R, Rafaliarison RR. 2009. Greater bamboo lemur. In: Mittermeier RA, Wallis J, Rylands AB, Ganzhorn JU, Oates JF, Williamson EA, Palacios E, Heymann EW, Kierulff MCM, Long Y, Supriatna J, Roos C, Walker S, Cortés-Ortiz L, Schwitzer, editors. Primates in peril: the world’s 25 most endangered primates, 2008-2010. Arlington(VA): IUCN/SSC PSG, IPS,


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