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Blue-eyed Black Lemur (Eulemur flavifrons) Fact Sheet: Summary

Blue-eyed Black Lemur (Eulemur flavifrons) Fact Sheet

Blue-eyed black lemur

Blue-eyed Black Lemur (Eulemur flavifrons)

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


Taxonomy Physical Characteristics

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Primates

Family: Lemuridae

Genus: Eulemur

Species: Eulemur flavifrons - blue-eyed black lemur

Body Weight: 1.61-2.19 kg (3.6-4.8 lb)

Head & Body Length: 39-45 cm (1.3-1.5 ft)

Tail Length: 51-65 cm (1.7-2.1 ft)

Pelage: Marked difference in the appearance of males and females. Males overall black in color; females with a creamy-white to gray belly and golden-orange to reddish-tan back.

Distribution & Status Behavior & Ecology

Range: Limited to a small region within northwestern Madagascar on the Sahamalaza Peninsula and adjacent mainland.

Habitat: Forest inhabitant.

IUCN Status: Critically Endangered (2018 assessment)

CITES: Appendix I

Population in Wild: c. 2,780-6,950 individuals. Among the 25 most threatened primates in the world (in 2014).

Locomotion: Move rapidly on all four limbs through trees. Leap to cross gaps in the forest canopy.

Activity Cycle: Active at day and during portions of the night. Peak activity typically near dawn and dusk.

Social Groups: Live in multi-male, multi-female groups. Core groups include 1-2 adult females, accompanied by 1-2 subadult females. Males are typically transient.

Diet: Vegetarian; animals primarily eat fruit and leaves from a wide variety of plants.

Predators: Fossa, Henst's Goshawk, Madagascar Harrier-hawk, Malagasy Ground Boa, Nile Crocodile, and humans.

Reproduction & Development Species Highlights

Sexual Maturity: Females first reproduce c. 3 years of age.

Gestation: 120 or more days

Litter Size: 1 infant; twins uncommon

Interbirth Interval: 319-410 days

Age at Weaning: 24-28 weeks

Typical Life Expectancy: about 21 years in managed care

Feature Facts

  • Pronounced differences in the appearance of males and females initially led to the two sexes being designated as separate species.
  • Following initial descriptions of these striking lemurs in the late 1800s, little to no reports of the animals appeared until the 1980s when the nearly "mythical" animal was rediscovered by a joint French and Malagasy expedition in northwestern Madagascar.
  • One of the few non-human primates with blue eyes, a trait common to both males and females.
  • Lives in small social groups.
  • Female fidelity to a group is common and they are dominant to the more loosely associated males.
  • Destruction of their forest homes as well as exploitation by humans has driven severe declines in their numbers.
  • In 2014, the critically endangered blue-eyed black lemur was listed among the 25 most endangered primates in the world.

About This Fact Sheet

© 2015-2020 San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. IUCN Status updated Oct 2020.

How to cite: Blue-eyed black lemur (Eulemur flavifrons) Fact Sheet. c2015-2020. San Diego (CA): San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance; [accessed YYYY Mmm dd]. blue-eyed_black_lemur.
(note: replace YYYY Mmm dd with date accessed, e.g., 2015 Sep 10)

Disclaimer: Although San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance makes every attempt to provide accurate information, some of the facts provided may become outdated or replaced by new research findings. Questions and comments may be addressed to


We wish to thank Guy Randriatahina for providing expert content review of this fact sheet.

Mr. Randriatahina is among the first researchers to have worked with the blue-eyed black lemur in their natural habitat. He has served as the country representative of the AEECL (European Zoos for lemur study and conservation) since 2008.

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