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Lemur Fact Sheet: Black and White Ruffed Lemur

Scientific Name: Varecia variegata

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The Black & White Ruffed Lemur is one of the larger lemur species, and maintains a large home range.

Diet and Families

They are frugivores, meaning their diet is made up exclusively of fruit, and are very selective feeders. Ruffed lemurs are highly dependent on the quality and availability of fruit in their habitats.

This species is thought to be one of the only primates to build nests to birth and care for their babies during their first few days of life, but they are more likely to reproduce when environmental conditions (like climate and food availability) are favorable. Without the right conditions, a female ruffed lemur can go years between giving birth, which slows the population growth of the species overall.

Geographic Range

While the home ranges of Black and White Ruffed lemur groups are large, the geographical range of the species is relatively small. These lemurs are only found in eastern Madagascar in lowland to mid-altitude rainforests.

Conservation Status

Black and White Ruffed lemurs are classified as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List. Populations are decreasing and fragmented.


Like many other species, the main threat to these lemurs is habitat loss due to agriculture, logging, and mining. They are also one of the most heavily hunted lemur species. In some areas of Madagascar, meat from ruffed lemurs is expensive and highly desired. Their loud vocalizations make them easier for hunters to find than other lemurs, especially during breeding seasons when vocalizing is more frequent. Ruffed lemurs are also victims of the illegal pet trade. And because of their selective diet, this species is highly impacted by the effects of climate change on Madagascar’s eastern rainforests.

LCN Members Working to Save Black & White Ruffed Lemurs

Where to See Black and White Ruffed Lemurs In Madagascar

  • Betampona Strict Nature Reserve
  • Ranomafana National Park
  • Kianjavato
  • Andasibe-Mantadia National Park

Research Black and White Ruffed Lemurs in the Scientific Literature


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