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Blue-eyed Black Lemur (Eulemur flavifrons) Fact Sheet: Reproduction & Development

Courtship

Polygynous (reported by Volampeno 2009 from personal communication with Randriatahina)

  • Males take multiple partners

Reproduction

Seasonal reproduction (from Volampeno 2009 unless otherwise noted)

  • Mate April-June
    • Onset of reproductive activity coincides with the start of the dry season
  • Give birth in late-August and October, in Ankarafa Forest
    • Coincides with the end of the dry season

Gestation and Birth

Gestation

  • Duration
    • 120 or more days (Volampeno 2009)

Birth (from Volampeno 2009)

  • Timing
    • Occurs in daylight, observation from one study (Volampeno 2009)
  • Litter size
    • 1 offspring, typically
    • Twins uncommon
  • Appearance of infant at birth
    • Coat light black; all infants

Interbirth interval (time between consecutive births) (from Volampeno 2009)

  • 319-410 days; mean 359
  • Adult females typically reproduce each year

Life Stages

Infants

  • Care (from Volampeno 2009 unless otherwise noted)
    • Mother transports infants (de Michelis et al. 1999; Volampeno 2009)
      • Infant clings to mother’s belly for first 3 weeks of life
    • Alloparenting by group members
      • Other group members carry, groom, and play with infants
      • Adult and juvenile males may carry offspring as well as siblings
  • Development (from Volampeno 2009 unless otherwise noted)
    • Ride on mother’s back by c. 3-4 weeks of age
    • Hair color on tail begins to grow lighter at c. 3 weeks
      • Appearance does not enable differentiation between sexes until c. 4 weeks of age
    • Within 4 week of birth, visual and olfactory exploration begin (de Michelis et al. 1999)
    • Begin to move away from mother for very short distances by c. 6-7 weeks
      • Walk quadrupedally on branches for a few cm
      • Remain with mother for most of the time
        • Spend 90% of time with mother
    • Social skills develop more fully in the 7th week
      • Includes independent play activity
    • By 10 weeks, locomotor skills develop and solid foods are consumed
      • Move independently from mother by 7 weeks of age, observation under managed care (de Michelis et al. 1999)
    • Weaned by c. 24-28 weeks
    • Nearly independent of maternal care by 7 months (28 weeks)
      • Display adult behaviors; including feeding, traveling, social play, allogrooming, and fighting
  • Mortality (from Volampeno 2009)
    • Predation and sickness account for most infant deaths

Adults

  • Males
    • Disperse from groups during mating season (from Randriatahina and Roeder 2013; Volampeno 2009)
      • Coincides with an increase in aggression between males
  • Females
    • Age of first reproduction
      • c. 3 years (Volampeno 2009)

Longevity

In managed care

  • 32 or more years (from Lernould 2003)
    • A female housed in a European facility
  • 25 or more years (from ZIMS 2015)
    • A male reported from a North American facility
      • Born in managed care in 1990, survives; as of February 2015
  • Several individuals survive 20 or more years (ZIMS 2015)

Mortality

Predation (Schwitzer et al. 2013)

Blue-eyed Black Lemur Development

group of blue-eyed black lemur

Female lemurs first give birth around the age of 3. Their daughters often remain within the same social group for life while sons disperse, commonly leaving during the mating season. Infants are often seen riding on the back of mom and other female group members. Their social and locomotor development is nearly complete by 10 weeks of age, and youth are nearly independent of maternal care by 7 months.

Image credit: © D Haring/Duke Lemur Center. All rights reserved. Reproduced with permission from the artist.

Page Citations

de Michelis et al. (1999)
Lernould (2003)
Randriatahina and Roeder (2013)
Schwitzer et al. (2013)
Volampeno (2009)
ZIMS (2015)

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