Western Woolly Lemur, Avahi occidentalis

The Western Woolly Lemur or Western Avahi (Avahi occidentalis) is a species of woolly lemur that is native to western Madagascar, where they live in dry deciduous forests. These nocturnal animals weigh about .7 to .9 kilograms. This species is folivorous.

This species resides in monogamous pairs together with their offspring.

The Western Woolly Lemur mostly consumes leaves and buds that derive from around 20 different plants which haven’t matured and have high levels of sugars and proteins. The food is usually consumed within the time frame of two hours before dawn and two hours after dusk, in which the lemurs consume their food in the canopy level of the forests between 2 and 9 meters. During feeding time, the lemurs usually settle on thinner branches unless the tree itself is too small to support the animal’s weight. Probably because the lemur’s folivorous diet, the Western Woolly Lemurs spend large amounts of time resting in order to conserve energy.

Because the Avahi as a species is highly selective in their diet, depending on plants with specific traits, it’s difficult to keep Avahi in captivity. Therefore, one of the primary and most general ways of conserving the species is to conserve the forests in which the species are currently found.

According to Tholmann and Geissmann there are three distinct forms of the Western Woolly Lemur: Avahi Occidentalis, Avahi Unicolor, and Bemaraha.

The Bemaraha sub-species of the Avahi is found in Eastern Madagascar, near the village of Ambalarano. Its face is slightly paler than its upper head, and the area above the nose stretches out to the forehead to contrast with the triangular pattern created by the forehead fur. The fur that borders the face is a black color and creates a dark pattern shaped like a line or a stripe that resembles the letter V. the eyes are a maroon color with black eyelids and the snout is black without hair, while the corners of the mouth have a white tone. The fur on the head and the body is a brownish grey color and has a slightly curled/freckled appearance. The tail is a beige color, while the chest, belly, and the inner area of the upper limbs is a light gray color with fairly thin fur.

This sub-species of this species can be found Northeast of Bombetoka Bay, in Northwestern Madagascar. The facial hair is white, white-grey, or cream, and creates an outline that contrasts with the surrounding facial features. There is a small darker colored spot of fur above the nose within the facial outline, and the light facial hair extends below its ears. The eyes feature a yellow-brown tint and are surrounded by a circle of black and hairless skin. The nose is black and without hair and the hair surrounding the nose has a white colored tint. The head and the body is a yellow-brown or brown-grey color and the fur is lightly curled and might appear freckled. The tail is pale grey colored or has tints of grayish-beige, but can also have tints of red and sometimes, some will have a white tip. On the chest, the belly, and the inner parts of the body, the fur is rather thin, light beige or cream colored.

Image Caption: Western Woolly Lemur. Credit: Alextelford/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)