White-collared brown lemur (Eulemur cinereiceps)

White-collared brown lemur pair
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White-collared brown lemur fact file

White-collared brown lemur description

GenusEulemur (1)

This medium-sized lemur has a horizontal posture, which is suited to its predominantly quadrupedal mode of movement (2). These lemurs are also capable of leaping considerable distances, their long furry tails assisting them in maintaining their balance (3). Although very similar in appearance to the collared brown lemur or red-collared lemur (Eulemur collaris), genetic analysis supports distinct species status (4). Males possess grey-brown upperparts, with darker lower limbs and tail, paler grey underparts, grey head and face and a darker crown. Females have redder-brown upperparts, paler underparts and darker feet than males. The cheeks and beard are white, bushy and pronounced in males, but reddish-brown and less bushy in females. The white-collared brown lemur earns its common name for the white cheeks of the male, which differ from the cream to brownish-orange cheeks of the collared brown lemur (2).

Also known as
white-collared lemur.
Eulemur albocollaris, Eulemur fulvus albocollaris.
Head-body length: 39 – 405 cm (2)
Tail length: 50 – 55 cm (2)
2 – 2.5 kg (2)

White-collared brown lemur biology

White-collared brown lemurs usually live in relatively large multimale-multifemale groups (4). Little research has been conducted into the reproductive biology of this species, but it is likely to be similar to that of other brown lemurs, which breed seasonally with mating occurring between June and July. The gestation period of brown lemurs is approximately 120 days, with infants born between September and November (3). A single offspring is usual, although twins have been reported (2). Sexual maturity is reached at between one and two years, and the lifespan in the wild is thought to range between 20 and 25 years (2) (3).

This species is cathemeral, meaning it is active at varying times throughout the day and night, and feeds predominantly on fruit, supplementing its diet with leaves, flowers and fungi (4).


White-collared brown lemur range

This species is believed to have the most restricted range of any species of the genus, occurring only in south-eastern Madagascar in the thin band of rainforest from just north of the Manampatra River south to the Mananara River (4).


White-collared brown lemur habitat

This primate inhabits lowland and mid-altitude eastern rainforest (2), where it spends most of its time in the upper layers of the forest (3).


White-collared brown lemur status

Classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Endangered


White-collared brown lemur threats

Habitat destruction remains the primary threat to the species, largely as a result of the explosive growth in the human population on Madagascar (3). In some areas, hunting has also been reported (2). These threats, coupled with the lemur’s very limited range, give cause for considerable concern (2). Thus, the white-collared brown lemur is listed as one of the world’s 25 most endangered primates (6).


White-collared brown lemur conservation

Currently, this lemur is found in two protected areas: Manombo Special Reserve, and Andringitra National Park (6), although there is further concern here, as the Andringitra population hybridizes with Eulemur rufus (5) (6). Recent surveys have also identified populations in unprotected forests, such as Vevembe, that could be added to existing parks and reserves (4). However, the white-collared brown lemur currently remains Endangered, and its fate will most probably be determined by the future of its diminishing forest habitat, which needs to be better preserved if extinction of this animal is to be prevented.

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

Find out more

To learn about efforts to conserve Madagascar’s forests see:




Authenticated (10/04/06) by Matt Richardson, independent primatologist and writer.



Living in trees.
Active intermittently throughout the day and night.
Applied to animals that walk on four feet.


  1. IUCN Red List (September, 2009)
  2. Garbutt, N. (1999) Mammals of Madagascar. Pica Press, Sussex.
  3. Animal Diversity Web (November, 2005)
  4. Mittermeier, R.A., Valladares-Pádua, C., Rylands, A.B., Eudey, A.A., Butynski, T.M., Ganzhorn, J.U., Kormos, R., Aguiar, J.M. and Walker, S. (2006) Primates in Peril: The World’s 25 Most Endangered Primates 2004 – 2006. Primate Conservation, 20: 1 - 28.
  5. Mittermeier, R.A., Ratsimbazafy, J., Rylands, A.B., Williamson, L., Oates, J.F., Mbora, D., Ganzhorn, J.U., Rodríguez-Luna, E., Palacios, E., Heymann, E.W., Cecília, M., Kierulff, M., Yongcheng, L., Supriatna, J., Roos, C., Walker, S. and Aguiar, J.M. (2007) Primates in Peril: The World’s 25 Most Endangered Primates 2006 – 2008. Primate Conservation, 22: 1 - 40.
  6. Richardson, M. (2006) Pers. comm.

Image credit

White-collared brown lemur pair  
White-collared brown lemur pair

© Steig Johnson

Steig Johnson
Department of Anthropology
University of Calgary
2500 University Dr NW
T2N 1N4
Tel: +1 (403) 220-6070
Fax: +1 (403) 284-5467


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