International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 29, Issue 6, pp 1607–1656 | Cite as

Lemur Diversity in Madagascar

  • Russell A. Mittermeier
  • Jörg U. Ganzhorn
  • William R. Konstant
  • Kenneth Glander
  • Ian Tattersall
  • Colin P. Groves
  • Anthony B. RylandsEmail author
  • Andreas Hapke
  • Jonah Ratsimbazafy
  • Mireya I. Mayor
  • Edward E. LouisJr.
  • Yves Rumpler
  • Christoph Schwitzer
  • Rodin M. Rasoloarison


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 



We thank Douglas Brandon-Jones for his expert advice on a number of aspects of the taxonomy of the lemurs. We also thank the Disney Institute, Orlando, Florida, and especially Kim Sams, Rick Barongi, and Anne Savage, for hosting the original IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group workshop “Primate Taxonomy for the New Millennium,” February 25–29, 2000. Numerous people most kindly provided excellent suggestions, advice and insights, and unpublished information during post-workshop discussions concerning particular genera, especially Nicole Andriaholinirina, Rick Brenneman, Frank Hawkins, Mitchell Irwin, Steig Johnson, William Jungers, Olivier Langrand, and Stephen Nash.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Russell A. Mittermeier
    • 1
  • Jörg U. Ganzhorn
    • 2
  • William R. Konstant
    • 3
  • Kenneth Glander
    • 4
  • Ian Tattersall
    • 5
  • Colin P. Groves
    • 6
  • Anthony B. Rylands
    • 7
    Email author
  • Andreas Hapke
    • 2
    • 8
  • Jonah Ratsimbazafy
    • 9
  • Mireya I. Mayor
    • 10
    • 11
  • Edward E. LouisJr.
    • 12
  • Yves Rumpler
    • 13
  • Christoph Schwitzer
    • 14
  • Rodin M. Rasoloarison
    • 15
  1. 1.Conservation InternationalArlingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Animal Ecology and ConservationHamburg UniversityHamburgGermany
  3. 3.Houston Zoological GardensHoustonUSA
  4. 4.Biological Anthropology and Anatomy DepartmentDuke UniversityDurhamUSA
  5. 5.Department of AnthropologyAmerican Museum of Natural HistoryNew YorkUSA
  6. 6.Archaeology and Anthropology, Faculty of ArtsThe Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  7. 7.Center for Applied Biodiversity ScienceConservation InternationalArlingtonUSA
  8. 8.Institut für AnthropologieJohannes-Gutenberg-Universität MainzMainzGermany
  9. 9.Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust - MadagascarAntananarivoMadagascar
  10. 10.Department of AnthropologyState University of New YorkStony BrookUSA
  11. 11.National GeographicWashingtonUSA
  12. 12.Center for Conservation and Research, Henry Doorly ZooOmahaUSA
  13. 13.Faculté de Médecine, Institut d’EmbryologieUniversité Louis PasteurStrasbourgFrance
  14. 14.Bristol Zoo Gardens, CliftonBristolEngland
  15. 15.Département de Biologie Animale, Faculté des SciencesUniversité d’AntananarivoAntananarivoMadagascar

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