International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 29, Issue 6, pp 1607-1656

First online:

Lemur Diversity in Madagascar

  • Russell A. MittermeierAffiliated withConservation International
  • , Jörg U. GanzhornAffiliated withDepartment of Animal Ecology and Conservation, Hamburg University
  • , William R. KonstantAffiliated withHouston Zoological Gardens
  • , Kenneth GlanderAffiliated withBiological Anthropology and Anatomy Department, Duke University
  • , Ian TattersallAffiliated withDepartment of Anthropology, American Museum of Natural History
  • , Colin P. GrovesAffiliated withArchaeology and Anthropology, Faculty of Arts, The Australian National University
  • , Anthony B. RylandsAffiliated withCenter for Applied Biodiversity Science, Conservation International Email author 
  • , Andreas HapkeAffiliated withDepartment of Animal Ecology and Conservation, Hamburg UniversityInstitut für Anthropologie, Johannes-Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
  • , Jonah RatsimbazafyAffiliated withDurrell Wildlife Conservation Trust - Madagascar
    • , Mireya I. MayorAffiliated withDepartment of Anthropology, State University of New YorkNational Geographic
    • , Edward E. LouisJr.Affiliated withCenter for Conservation and Research, Henry Doorly Zoo
    • , Yves RumplerAffiliated withFaculté de Médecine, Institut d’Embryologie, Université Louis Pasteur
    • , Christoph SchwitzerAffiliated withBristol Zoo Gardens, Clifton
    • , Rodin M. RasoloarisonAffiliated withDépartement de Biologie Animale, Faculté des Sciences, Université d’Antananarivo

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A basic understanding of the taxonomy, diversity, and distributions of primates is essential for their conservation. This review of the status of the taxonomy of lemurs is based on a 5-d workshop entitled “Primate Taxonomy for the New Millennium,” held at the Disney Institute, Orlando, Florida, in February 2000. The aim is not to present a taxonomic revision, but to review our current understanding of the diversity and current and past ranges of lemurs and indicate where there is controversy, discrepancy, or lack of knowledge. Our goal therefore is to provide a baseline for future taxonomic investigation, as well as a clearer focus for research and conservation priorities. We here focus on the lemurs of Madagascar and recognize 5 families, 15 genera, and 99 species and subspecies. We list 39 species of lemurs described since 2000: 2 dwarf lemurs, Cheirogaleus; 11 mouse lemurs, Microcebus; a giant mouse lemur, Mirza; a bamboo lemur, Hapalemur; 17 sportive lemurs, Lepilemur; and 7 woolly lemurs, Avahi. Taxonomic revisions have resulted in the resurrection of a further 9 taxa. However, the figures do not represent the total diversity of Malagasy lemurs because more new species are being identified via new field studies and accompanying genetic research, and should be described in the near future.


diversity lemurs Madagascar taxonomy