The sportive lemurs are the medium sized primates that make up the Lepilemuridae family. The family consists of only one extant genus, Lepilemur, as well as the extinct genus Megaladapis. They are closely related to the other lemurs and exclusively live on the island of Madagascar. For a time, this family was named Megaladapidae, but the current name was given precedence.

Physical characteristics

Their fur is grey brown or reddish colored on the top and whitish yellow underneath. They typically have a short head large, round ears. They grow to a length of 30 to 35 cm (with a tail just about as long as their body) and weigh up to 0.9 kg.

Behaviour and mating

Sportive lemurs are strictly nocturnal and predominantly arboreal, moving among the trees with long jumps powered by their strong hind legs. On the ground, they hop similarly as the kangaroos. During the day they hide in the leafy covering or tree hollows. Sportive lemurs are solitary but defend their territory vehemently against same sex intruders. The territories of males and females can overlap.


They are mainly herbivores and their diet consists predominantly of leaves.

Reproduction and lifespan

Birthing happens between September and December after a gestation of 120 to 150 days, and is usually of a single young which is often reared in a nest in a tree hollow. At about four months the juveniles are weaned but remain with their mother up to an age of one year. At about 18 months they are fully mature, and live to be about eight years old.


* New species according to molecular analysis
** New species according to molecular analysis
*** New species according to molecular analysis
**** New species according to molecular analysis


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