Varecia variegata (Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur)

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Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur
A Black and white ruffed lemur, (Varecia variegata variegata).
A Black and white ruffed lemur, (Varecia variegata variegata).
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Family: Lemuridae
Genus: Varecia
Species: V. variegata
Binomial name
Varecia variegata
(Kerr, 1792)

The Black and white ruffed lemur Varecia variegata variegata is a large quadrupedal Lemur. In the wild, it is found only on the island of Madagascar.


The Black and white ruffed lemur is a diurnal Primate that has a head body length of approximately 43 – 57 cm and a tail length of around 60-65 cm[2][3][4]. Weight ranges between approximately 3 and 3.5 kg[4]. Coat color, as the common name suggests, is black and white. [4]. The coat and tail are fluffy and the black and white ruffed lemur has prominent "tuffs" on the ears[4]. There are no size or color differences that distinguish males from females.


Studies show significant variation in group size and territorial behaviour [3][4]. The black and white ruffed lemur moves mostly quadrupedally but is also an adept leaper[4]. It has been noted that this species is possibly the only Primate to build nests exclusively for the birth of young[4].

A black and white ruffed lemur climbing[4].


It is highly frugiverous but also eats seeds, leaves and nectar [3][4].

Geographical distribution

The black and white ruffed lemur may be found in small areas of tropical moist lowland and montane forests of eastern Madagascar[4].


  1. Baillie (1996). Varecia variegata. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 11 May 2006. Listed as Endangered (EN A1cd v2.3)
  2. J. Fleagle (1998). Primate Adaptation and Evolution. Academic Press: New York. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 F. Szalay and E. Delson (2001). Evolutionary History of the Primates. Academic Press, New York. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9 Mittermeier et al. (2006). Lemurs of Madagascar. Conservation International.