Greater Dwarf Lemur, Cheirogaleus major

The greater dwarf lemur (Cheirogaleus major), also known as Geoffroy’s dwarf lemur, is native only to the island of Madagascar. This species can be found in northern and eastern regions of the island, preferring a habitat within primary and secondary forests, or arid scrub areas. It is a nocturnal species that rests and sleeps in nests made of twigs, leaves, and grasses or in trees with hollow areas. It was thought that a color variation of the greater dwarf lemur, the greater iron-gray dwarf lemur, was a distinct species, but was classified with the greater dwarf lemur in 2009.

The greater dwarf lemur can reach an average body length of up to 10.3 inches, with a tail length of up to 12.2 inches and an average weight between 5.7 and 21.1 ounces. The fur is short and thick, typically holding a reddish brown color. This species has distinct dark circles of fur around its eyes.

As is typical to lemur species, the greater dwarf lemur moves vertically through trees, but is not skilled at leaping. It is not capable of making many sounds, but will emit soft calls to find other individuals. The mating season or this species occurs in October. Births occur between the months of November and February. It is common for mothers to give births to twins.

The diet of the greater dwarf lemur consists mainly of nectar, fruit, and flowers, but it will also consume insects or small vertebrates. Between the months of November and December, nectar from flowers becomes a major part of its diet. Before the dry season, it will store fat in its tail, and will occasionally hibernate during this time. Common predators of this species include the boa constrictor, the ring-tailed mongoose, and the Madagascar buzzard. It is thought that the cat-like fossa hunts this species as well. The greater dwarf lemur appears on the IUCN Red List with a conservation of “Least Concern”.

Image Caption: Greater Dwarf Lemur (Cheirogaleus major) – Perinet Reserve, Madagascar. Credit: Adam Britt/Wikipedia  (CC BY 3.0)