Ancient animal: Strepsirrhini
Future animal: nakotnes lemurs

Lemur

Lemur is named after the lemures (ghost or spirits) from the Romans because of their characteristics. Now because of deforestation in Madagascar, there are only around 30 species left in the world.

050809_lemur_photo.jpg

New species of lemur is found. It is named Microcebus lehilahytsara (good man) : Image is found
in http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/08/images/050809_lemur_photo.jpg


Scientific Classification of Lemur:

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Mammalia
Order
Primates
Suborder
Strepsirrhini



Habitat

Lemur is from the Animalia kingdom, Chordata phylum and it is in the Mammalia class. It usually stays in Madagascar, which is located in the Indian Ocean 250 miles off Africa. They also could be found at the neighbouring Comores Islands. However, different lemurs lives in different kinds of environments. For example, some lives in the moist, some lives in the tropical rain forest while the rest lives in the dry desert. They enjoyed spending their time leisurely on the tree while there are also some different species such as the ring-tailed lemurs like to make the place as their territory. Some species of lemur is highly adaptable so that's why dense bushes, spiny forests etc are also lemur's habitat.
external image moz-screenshot-6.jpg
africa.gif


Lemur mainly eats grass, fruits, flowers, plant juices, leaves, seeds, seedpods, sometimes insects and small lizards, therefore making it as a herbivore. It is very important to Madagascar because of the deforestation caused by humans. Lemur can improve this situation by spreading the seeds from the fruits that they ate so the seed could grow into a tree which will help Madagascar's environment.

In this kind of habitat that the lemurs lives, they have predators such as hawks, dogs, humans and Boa Constrictor. As there are predators hunting them, they have some defense ability to protect themselves from the predators. When the lemurs are entering into a completely new and unfamiliar territory, small groups will move together so if something happens, they could work as a team so they could at least escape from their predators. There is a "group size effect" that will scare the predators away, and giving them a message that they shouldn't be messing around with them.

Since there are large groups formed within the lemurs, they have more confidence into walking in the deeper forest, which will actually increase the fruit feeding and predator encounters. When there is a high chance that there's a predator, the lemurs will split into small groups and changed their foraging behavior so they could lessen the chance of being attack by their predators.
Lemurs.jpg
Lemurs in a group: Image found in http://scienceblogs.com/afarensis/Lemurs.jpg

Adaptions

Behavior 1

When going into a new territory, lemurs will be moving into large groups in order to react when there are predator striking towards them. If there is a high chance that there's a predator, the lemurs will split into small groups and changed their foraging behavior so they could lessen the chance of being attacked by their predators. If the lemurs sense that there are predators hunting them, they will have several different warnings so that they could alert their companions that they are under attack. They will shriek loudly and this means that there's a hawk flying towards them. If they had spotted a ground predator such as dogs and boa constrictor, they will start to make some click sounds and it will continue by growing louder and high intensity if they see their ground predators are trying to attack them.

external image lemurgroup.jpg

Lemur in groups: Image found in http://api.ning.com/files/1soUpJPUc4nlFgN*knPnn29IK4nDCidhIZf5f3laWjL2nBO8WxAMTo6Msei5oAF0VZb5nn17cuzHKvYZxHEIOBpwxlFemJGg/lemurgroup.jpg

Behavior 2

Lemur relies on smell most of the time so they will mark their territory with their scent glands. The male lemurs will produce their special smell called spur marking. They will use this special trick if there is something into their territory and it will be really stinky so their opponents will be affected. Lemurs use this trick by waving their tails toward their opponents so the smell could waft to the opponents.
external image lemur-catta-0031b.jpg

Lemur spur making on its territory: Image found in http://novatroll.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/lemur-catta-0031b.jpg
How does this helps?
Spur marking doesn't only helps lemur to mark their own territory, it also became their attacks towards their enemies. If something went into its territory, lemur will use their tails and waft that smell towards their enemies so lemur could either attack it or run away from its predators. It also make the smell unique so if other lemurs went into it's territory, it knows that this territory belongs to other lemurs and it will go away and find another territory, unless it wants to fight and get its territory.

Structural

Hind legs (structural 1):
To jump easier, lemurs have strong hind legs that are much stronger than their front arms. For better holding on the branch, their big thumb and big toes are automatically set into an angle that are the most suitable for them. There's also a claw on their second toe of their hind legs, which is also used to clean their furs. The way that it swings looks like Baboon.
external image jumping_lemur.jpg
Lemur jumping to a branch: Image found in http://www.age-of-the-sage.org/evolution/jumping_lemur.jpg

How does this helps?
If lemurs are being chased by their predators, they could use their strong hind legs in order to run away from their predators in case they could catch up to them. Also, they could use this skill to get their food more easily since their food are mostly on trees (such as fruits and leaves).

Large eyes (structural 2):
Lemurs have large eyes that are adapted to their own lifestyle. There is a layer of reflective tissues behind their retina, which reflects the light back to towards the pupil, making their eyes visible in the dark. There could be different colour of eyes such as brown, yellow, blue and red.
external image 8598005_3607289c15.jpg
A zoom-in picture of the lemur's eyes: Image found in http://farm1.static.flickr.com/7/8598005_3607289c15.jpg

How does this helps?
As most of their predators does not have the ability to see in the dark, lemurs have a better advantages when they have these eyes. In the dark, they could see more clearly and find the best route to escape from their predators. They also could use this ability to hunt their prey during the night quietly and making the hunt successful.

Physiological


Body temperature
Lemur's body temperature actually varies which kind of tree holes they live in. Researchers had suggested that the lemur's body temperature are regulated by varies conditions just like Frilled Neck Lizard and other reptiles, instead of maintaining their temperature. Researchers had found out that their daily temperature is about 20 degrees Celsius.

Environmental pressure
The lemur's body temperature is affected by the tree holes that they live in. If global warming continues to get worse, lemur's temperature could get hotter and hotter and it might make them feel uncomfortable and the worst they might die from the heat.

Internal Organs
Lemur's internal organs such as the liver and spleen had been found that there is iron in it. Researchers have discovered it and have continued a research comparing different types of lemur have how many iron in it. There is not much animal that actually have iron in their internal organs, so it is actually a big discovery for the lemur's organizations and groups.

Environmental pressure
Lemur's internal organs might be affected because of the environmental change happening now, and something had happened inside the internal organs which produced iron it it.





Bibliography:
Tigerhomes.(2006). Lemurs: Physical Description, Communication, Conservation and Habitat. Retrieved July 25, 2010, from http://www.tigerhomes.org/animal/lemurs.cfm

Wikimedia Foundation.(2010). Lemur. Retrieved July 25, 2010, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemur

Buzzle.(2010). Lemurs Habitat. Retrieved July 25, 2010, from http://www.buzzle.com/articles/lemurs-habitat.html

Predators & Defense. Retrieved July 25, 2010, from http://www.bio.davidson.edu/people/vecase/behavior/Spring2004/gooch/Predators%20and%20Defense.htm

Lemurs: Lemuridae - Physical Characteristics. Retrieved July 25, 2010, from http://animals.jrank.org/pages/2941/Lemurs-Lemuridae-PHYSICAL-CHARACTERISTICS.html

Lemurs of Madagascar. Retrieved July 26, 2010, from http://www.wildmadagascar.org/wildlife/lemurs.html

Unique Characteristics of Primates. Retrieved July 26, 2010, from http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/Primates/Facts/Primateness/default.cfm

BBC. Ring-tailed Lemur. Retrieved July 26, 2010, from http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/species/Ring-tailed_Lemur

National Geographic.(2009). Lemur is the First Hibernating Primate, Study Says. Retrieved July 26, 2010, from http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/06/0623_040623_lemurs.html