Lemurs are only found on the island of Madagascar, off the coast of Africa. They are different to other primates due to their dog-like muzzle and wet nose. Red-bellied lemurs are sexually dimorphic (males and females are different). Males are mostly brown with white eye patches. Females are brown with white fronts and white markings around the face and neck. Both sexes have a black tail.
These lemurs form family groups of a male and a female with their offspring. They are one of the most territorial of the lemurs, with home ranges of 10-20 hectares. They are active during the day and night making them a cathemeral species. Communication is important in this species with sound, smell, touch and sight all used in interactions. Males have a large scent gland on their forehead used to mark territory.
Females give birth to a single infant once a year between September and October. The infant is fully dependent on its mother for the first two weeks. After this both parents will care for the infant until it reaches five weeks of age. At this point the female often rejects the infant leaving the father to carry it.
Red-bellied lemurs mainly eat fruit, leaves and flowers with a few insects. They forage at all heights in the forest and have been observed eating over 70 different species of plant.
The main threat facing red-bellied lemurs is habitat loss due to slash-and-burn farming techniques or for logging. Large areas of the eastern rainforest in Madagascar have now been seriously reduced. In some areas there is also the threat of hunting.