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Stewart: Male, arrived at the Zoo on loan from the Duke Lemur Center, NC, on June 7, 2000. He was born at Duke on March 9, 1990. Blue-eyed lemurs are sexually dimorphic meaning that the males and females do not look the same. Stewart's pelage or fur is completely black.
Bardot: Female, arrived at the Zoo, also on loan from Duke Lemur Center, on April 8, 1997. She was born at Duke on March 13, 1992. Bardot's pelage is reddish brown.
The Rare Animal Conservation Centero
The blue-eyed black lemur is found only in a small region of the island of Madagascar, where they live in subtropical moist and dry forests. Unlike most primates, the males and females are different colors. Males are completely black, while females are a reddish-brown or blond color. Both sexes have blue or blue-grey eyes; this lemur is one of just a few species of primates in which blue eyes are typical. The blue-eyed black lemur is sometimes called Sclater's black lemur, after a British zoologist who examined one of the first specimens in the 1800s. There was confusion about early examples of the blue-eyed black lemur, and its existence was not "proven" until scientists from France and Madagascar tracked them down in the wild in the 1980s.
Blue-eyed black lemurs can live more than 20 years in zoos. Typical lifespan in the wild is not known, but is likely to be shorter than in zoos.
Blue-eyed black lemurs live in groups that include several adult males and females with young. Within groups, females are dominant to males and get first choice of food. Female dominance is a pattern seen in many types of lemurs.
Blue-eyed black lemurs are arboreal, living and traveling mostly in the trees.
Like most lemurs, blue-eyed black lemurs have a particular breeding season. In the wild in Madagascar, in the southern hemisphere, most babies are born August-October. In zoos in the U.S., in the northern hemisphere, the breeding season is reversed, and most babies are born in March and April. This switch probably happens because the lemurs' reproductive cycle is cued by changes in day length - the daylight period getting longer or shorter.
Gestation is about 4 months. Usually just one infant is born. The infant grips its mother's fur and rides on her underside in a belt-like position for the first month, then moving to her back. Infants may start to move short distances from their mothers after just a few weeks.
Even though males and females are different colors as adults, both sexes are a brownish color at birth and only develop adult colors as they grow.
Head and body length is usually 15-18 in (38-46 cm), with a tail length of 20-26 in (51-66 cm).
Blue-eyed black lemurs usually weigh between 4-5.5 lbs (181 -250 kg).
In the wild, blue-eyed black lemurs probably eat fruit, leaves, flowers and nectar. They may also occasionally catch birds and small mammals. In the Zoo, our blue-eyed black lemurs eat scientifically-formulated primate chow and a variety of fresh produce.
Blue-eyed black lemurs are found in a very small area of northwest Madagascar (off the east coast of Africa).
To learn more about the conservation efforts at the Philadelphia Zoo, click here.
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