Animal Database

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Animal Database
Animal Database
Black-and-White Ruffed Lemur
800px-Varecia variegata full body curled up
Range Madagascar
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Mammalia
Order Primates
Family Lemuridae
Genus Varecia
Species Varecia variegata
Conservation Status
Critically Endangered

The Black-and-white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata), is a species of lemur which is more endangered of the two species of ruffed lemurs, both of which are endemic to the island of Madagascar. Despite having a larger range than the Red ruffed lemur, it has a much smaller population that is spread out, living in lower population densities and reproductively isolated. It also has less coverage and protection in large national parks than the red ruffed lemur. Three subspecies of black-and-white ruffed lemur have been recognized since the red ruffed lemur was elevated to species status in 2001.

Together with the red ruffed lemur, they are the largest extant members of the family Lemuridae, ranging in length from 100 to 120 cm (3.3 to 3.9 ft) and weighing between 3.1 and 4.1 kg (6.8 and 9.0 lb). They are arboreal, spending most of their time in the high canopy of the seasonal rainforests on the eastern side of the island. They are also diurnal, active exclusively in daylight hours. Quadrupedal locomotion is preferred in the trees and on the ground, and suspensory behavior is seen during feeding. As the most frugivorous of lemurs, the diet consists mainly of fruit, although nectar and flowers are also favored, followed by leaves and some seeds.

The black-and-white ruffed lemur has a complex social structure and is known for its loud, raucous calls. It is unusual in that it exhibits several reproductive traits typically found in small, nocturnal lemurs, such as short a gestation period, large litters and rapid maturation. In captivity, they can live up to 36 years.


The black-and-white ruffed lemur is one of two species within the genus Varecia, and has three subspecies. Of the three subspecies, the white-belted black-and-white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata subcincta) is found furthest to the north, the southern black-and-white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata editorum) is found furthest to the south, and the black-and-white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata variegata) has a geographic range between the other two subspecies.

Variegated Black-and-White Ruffed Lemur (Kerr, 1792) (Varecia variegata variegata)
Southern Black-and-White Ruffed Lemur (Osman Hill, 1953) (Varecia variegata editorum)
Northern Black-and-White Ruffed Lemur (A. Smith, 1833) (Varecia variegata subcincta)