Black Lemur

(Eulemur macaco)




Facts about this animal

There are two species that are distinguished by the eye color, the Black Lemur (E. m. macaco) with brown eyes and the blue-eyed black Lemur or Sclater's Lemur (E. m. flavifrons). The animals have a head-body length of about 50 cm, and the tail measures 60 cm. Body-weight is about 3 kgs. There is a clear sexual dimorphism in both subspecies. In macaco, which has eartufts in both sexes, males are entirely black, females are brownish with a black head and white tufts. In flavifrons there are no eartufts and males are black while females are brown in colour. But the key difference between the two subspecies is that adult Sclater's Lemurs have bright blue eyes.


These lemurs always live in groups, which can number as many as twenty individuals. They are active during the day, especially at twilight. They run and leap agilely and have a wide range of cries but also rely largely on their senses of smell and hearing to communicate. Among the sounds they use are: a cohesion call, used to keep track of other group members; a recognition grunt, used when one lemur identifies another (and which sounds somewhat like a duck's quacking!); a purr, used by infants to indicate contentment while being groomed; and an alarm call, used to warn of predators (such as birds of prey or the fossa).


Black lemurs scent-mark their surroundings, depositing scent from special glands on their ano-genital (rump) area. Males also mark with scent glands located on their hands and the top of their head. The scent conveys important information about the particular animal that left the fragrant "calling card."

Did you know?
That the word "Lemur" means "ghost" in Latin? This is the perfect name for them because as tree dwellers they often seem invisible high up in the dense foliage, even though their calls and movements are readily heard from the ground.


Name (Scientific) Eulemur macaco
Name (English) Black Lemur
Name (French) LĂ©mur noir
Name (German) Mohrenmaki
Name (Spanish) Lemur negro
Local names Malagasy: Ankomba
CITES Status Appendix I
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Mbz 1



Range North-western Madagascar
Habitat Evergreen coastal rainforest
Wild population The population size is considered to range between 10,000-100,000 individuals, population trend declining.
Zoo population 156 Eulemur m. macaco and 56 Eulemur m. flavifrons were reported to ISIS

In the Zoo

Black Lemur


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 31 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Daniel Montagnon

Why do zoos keep this animal

The black lemurs are vulnerable because their habitat is rapidly shrinking and deteriorating. With a view of building up a reserve population, an International Studbook has been established in 1987 under the WAZA umbrella, and coordinated conservation breeding programmes are operated at the regional level by AZA, EAZA , JAZA and PAAZAB.