Broad-nosed Gentle Lemur (Hapalemur simus)

The front teeth are specially developed for eating bamboo, with a dental formula of 2:1:3:3; they also have a dental comb used for grooming. This species is larger than Hapalemur griseus. The average body mass for this species is 2450 grams (Tan, 1999). Fleagle (1999) found that the average body mass for adult females is 1300 grams and for adult males it is 2150 grams. The broad-nosed gentle lemur has a large scent gland on the throat (Groves, 1988). This species has a pelage coloration that is described as battleship gray, washed with olive brown on the shoulders and the top of the head, on the dorsal side and gray brown on the ventral side (Tattersall, 1982). The tail of this species darkens at the tip, with being a gray-brown tone at the base (Tattersall, 1982; Groves, 1988). The muzzle of this species is dark (Tattersall, 1982). The cheeks, forehead, and throat are brownish gray in coloration (Tattersall, 1982). There is a brownish pygal patch present (Tattersall, 1982). The ears possess white tufts (Rowe, 1996). Females possess a single pair of mammae (Tattersall, 1982).

Groves (2001) has placed this species in its own genus, Prolemur.

The broad-nosed gentle lemur is found on the island of Madagascar in bamboo forests, in a small area of southeastern Madagascar. This species lives in bamboo in primary rain forests (Rowe, 1996). This species has been found to occur in the Vondrozo region (Wright et al., 1987). At Andringitra this species is found at elevation from 1210-1625 meters (Sterling and Ramaroson, 1996; cited in Goodman and Schutz, 1999).

The broad-nosed gentle lemur primarily eats bamboo shoots as well as the leaves of the bamboo plant. Wright et al. (1987) found that the part of the bamboo plant consumed most frequently was the wood pith inside the main stem. Leclercq and Santini-Palka (1995) found that in captivity the parts of the bamboo plant most consumed included the adult leaves and the stem. The bamboo species foraged on most often is Cephalostachyum viguieri (Wright et al., 1987). The leaf bases of Cephalostachyum perrieri are also consumed (Wright et al., 1987). The bamboo consumed by the broad-nosed gentle lemur was found to be high in fiber and low in protein (Wright and Randrimanantena, 1989; Leclercq and Santini-Palka, 1995); this species has a high amount of cellulose and lignin in the diet (Leclercq and Santini-Palka, 1995). This species was found to rarely eat fruit (Wright et al., 1987). At Kianjavato this species was found to consume bamboo shoots, flowers, fruit, and leaves, and to raid rice crops (Meier and Rumpler, 1987). Fruit consumed include: palbe fruit (Artocarpus integrifolius), mango (Mangifera indica), figs (Ficus sp.), and palm fruit (Dypsis sp.) (Meier and Rumpler, 1987). Leaves were to be eaten from the longoja (Aframomum sp.) and the kikuju (Pennistum claudestinum) (Meier and Rumpler, 1987). Flowers from Ravenala madagascariensis are eaten (Meier and Rumpler, 1987). Grassi (1998) found that at Ranomafana National Park Cephalostachyum cf. viguieri represents a major part of the diet for this species. The broad-nosed gentle lemur will cut bamboo leaves at the base and gather them between the anterior molars before chewing (Santini-Palka, 1994). This species will sometimes consume leaf-stalks as they consume leaves (Santini-Palka, 1994). This species will consume highly lignified main stems by holding them with two hands and gnawing them until they brake (Santini-Palka, 1994). In captivity this species was found to spend four hours of the day feeding (Santini-Palka, 1994).

Tan (1999) found that at Ranomafana National Park the diet of the broad-nosed gentle lemur consisted of the giant bamboo (95%), other bamboo and grass species (3%), fruit (0.5%), and other (1.5%). This species was found to be less selective than Hapalemur griseus and Hapalemur aureus in eating bamboo, consuming both mature and immature leaves (Tan, 1999). Plant species consumed at Ranomafana include: Cathariostachys madagascariensis, Cephalostachyum cf. perrieri, Cephalostachyum cf. viguieri, Nastus elongatus, Poecilostachys festucaceus, Streblus dimepate, and Scleria sp. (Tan, 1999). Between July and November, which is the dry season, this species relied heavily on the inner pith of the giant bamboo culm (Tan, 1999). During the rainy season this species relied more heavily on the shoots of the giant bamboo (Tan, 1999). Pith may be consumed in the dry season over young leaves and branch shoots because of: niche separation amongst Hapalemur species, higher density of pith, high amounts of cyanide in young leaves and branch shoots, and higher nutritional quality of pith (Tan, 1999).

Wright et al. (1987) found that group sizes ranged from 4-12 individuals. At Kianjavato the maximum group size was found to be seven individuals (Meier and Rumpler, 1987). Tan (1999) found that at Ranomafana the maximum group size for this species is nine individuals. The broad-nosed gentle lemur is a crepuscular species (Klopfer and Boskoff, 1979). This species was also found to active during day and/or night (Santini-Palka, 1994). This species is more terrestrial as compared to Hapalemur griseus (Nowak, 1999). This species has a larger home range as compared to Hapalemur griseus (Leclercq and Santini-Palka, 1995).

The broad-nosed gentle lemur is a vertical clinger and leaper that will also employ quadrupedal locomotion when feeding (Fleagle, 1999).

The broad-nosed gentle lemur has a monogamous social system (Klopfer and Boskoff, 1979). Polygamy also has been found to occur in this species (Tan, 1999). Males will disperse from the natal group upon adulthood (Tan, 1999). This species may form groups with Hapalemur griseus and Eulemur fulvus (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979).

contact call: This is a yelping sound, that is powerful, and the intensity rises and falls rapidly with the progression of the call (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979). This call acts as a group-cohesion signal (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979).

alarm call: This consists of a low-pitched roar that decreases in intensity as the call progresses (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979). This call sounds like "grrraaa" and may be divided into two parts that sound like "ouik-grrraaa" and uttered in long, rapid sequences (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979). This is emitted when individuals are disturbed in the forest (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979).



social grooming: This is when one individual removes dead skin and parasites from another conspecific.

This species gives birth to a single offspring. Infants will remain in contact with their mothers until week five, and between weeks seven and eight the infant will start to explore more away from the mother and nursing by the mother decreases (Gauthier et al., 1998).

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Grassi, C. 1998. Forest composition and bamboo distribution: Influences on the distribution of Hapalemur species. (abstract) American Journal of Physical Anthropology. Suppl. 26, 100.

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Tan, C.L. 1999. Group composition, home range size, and diet of three sympatric bamboo lemur species (Genus Hapalemur) in Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar. International Journal of Primatology. Vol. 20(4), 547-566.

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Last Updated: March 15, 2007.
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