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Collared Lemur (Eulemur collaris) Fact Sheet: Physical Characteristics

Physical Characteristics

Body measurements from Donati et al. 2007b

AttributeMales & Females
Head & Body Length Mean = 45.4-46.1 cm (c. 18 in)
Tail Length Mean = 50.1-50.3 cm (c. 19.7 in)
Body Weight Mean = 1861-2150 g (4.1-4.7 lb)

Measurements taken from 28 adults

General Appearance

  • Body shape (from Schwitzer et al. 2013 unless otherwise noted)
    • Relatively large lemur
    • Tail
      • Long (Hill 1953)
      • Length exceeds that of the body
  • Facial characteristics (from Hill 1953 unless otherwise noted)
    • Face
      • Muzzle
        • Dark gray or black (Schwitzer et al. 2013)
        • Pointed
      • Nose
        • Dark gray or black
        • Broad
      • Ears
        • Partially concealed with hair, though visible
    • Eyes
      • Orange-red in both sexes (Schwitzer et al. 2013)
      • Grayish-whitish spots above the eyes, in some individuals, give the appearance of eye brows
  • Adult pelage (from Schwitzer et al. 2013 unless otherwise noted)
    • Brown overall
      • Male and female coloration dissimilar
        • See Sexual Dimorphism, below
      • Stripe of darker hair runs the length of the spine
      • Belly more pale than the back
        • Grey or creamy white
    • Face
      • Ruff of hair on the throat and framing the cheeks
        • See Sexual Dimorphism, below
    • Tail
      • Haired though not “bushy” (Hill 1953)
      • Dark reddish-brown along its length (Hill 1953; Schwitzer et al. 2013)
      • Base often with dark (black) hairs (Hill 1953)

Sexual Dimorphism

  • Sexes similar in size (Donati et al. 2007b)
  • Sexually dichromatic (from Schwitzer et al. 2013 unless otherwise noted)
    • Male
      • Collar reddish-orange or creamy (Johnson 2006; Schwitzer et al. 2013)
        • Thick, bushy beard of hair extending around the cheeks (Schwitzer et al. 2013)
      • Body hair brownish-gray; lighter than that of the female
    • Female
      • Collar less developed than that of the male
      • Body hair darker and more rufous-brown than that of the male
      • Appearance very similar to that of the female white-collared brown lemur

Other Characteristics


  • Adaptations for grooming
    • Tooth comb (Schwitzer et al. 2013)
      • Tall, slender lower incisors separated with narrow gaps
      • Structure projects forward and slightly upward
      • Aids in grooming and feeding (Cuozzo and Yamashita 2006)

Other Characteristics

  • Chromosome number (from Buettner-Janusch and Hamilton 1979)
    • Number variable (polymorphic)
      • 2n = 50, 51, or 52
        • Most individuals with 52 chromosomes, one study (Buettner-Janusch and Hamilton 1979)
        • 2n = 51 likely resulting from hybridization between 2n=50 and 2n=52 members of the species

Collared lemur (Eulemur collaris)

Male collared lemur

Male collared lemur.

Image credit: © Howard Brier at Flickr. Some rights reserved

Page Citations

Buettner-Janusch and Hamilton (1979)
Cuozzo and Yamashita (2006)
Donati et al. (2007b)
Hill (1953)
Johnson (2006)
Schwitzer et al. (2013)

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