International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 915–941 | Cite as

Distribution and Geographic Variation in the Western Woolly Lemur (Avahi occidentalis) with Description of a New Species (A. unicolor

  • Urs Thalmann
  • Thomas Geissmann


The western woolly lemur is distributed through central western, northwestern and possibly northern Madagascar and is traditionally viewed as a monotypic species (Avahi occidentalis) or as a subspecies of A. laniger. We present new data on body weights of Avahi which, together with previously available body weights, provide additional evidence for recognizing eastern and western woolly lemurs as two distinct species. We then reexamine the distributions of, and chromatic variation within and between, populations of western woolly lemurs. A comparative study of wild subjects and museum skins reveals that several geographically discrete morphs exist in western Avahi, which is clearly polytypic. Marked differences between populations in fur coloration suggest that ≥3 distinct taxa should be recognized. The populations differ considerably in their habitat structure. In addition, field observations suggest clear differences in population density between ≥2 of the populations. We describe and name one new species.

systematics Avahi occidentalis western woolly lemur Madagascar new species 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Urs Thalmann
    • 1
  • Thomas Geissmann
    • 2
  1. 1.Anthropological InstituteZurich UniversityZürichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute of ZoologyTierärztliche Hochschule HannoverHannoverGermany

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