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Central west and northwest dry and subhumid deciduous forests

H. aureus

Golden Bamboo Lemur

1.4b

Southeastern central rainforests

H. simus

Broad-nosed Gentle Lemur or Greater Bamboo Lemur

2.6b

Southeastern and possibly central-eastern rainforests

a General reference: Mutschler and Tan (2003).

b Species average, based on individuals captured at Ranomafana National Park (Tan, in preparation). e Mutschler et al. (2000).

a General reference: Mutschler and Tan (2003).

b Species average, based on individuals captured at Ranomafana National Park (Tan, in preparation). e Mutschler et al. (2000).

provisionally assigned to 10 genera, are recognized in Madagascar (Dransfield, 2000). This diversity and high degree of endemism of woody bamboo reflect Madagascar's long geographic isolation. Undoubtedly, the evolution of Hapalemur is intimately linked with the evolution of bamboo in Madagascar and the anthropogenic effect on this plant after colonization of the island. Today, the majority of Malagasy woody bamboo species are found in the remaining eastern humid forests, although some have adapted to the drier climate of the west (Dransfield, 2000). In the southeastern central region, for example, Hapalemur spp. (specifically H. g. griseus, H. aureus, and H. simus) feed on a variety of bamboo plants, some of which contain cyanogenic compounds in the actively growing parts (Glander et al., 1989; Tan, 1999, 2000, and unpublished data) (Table 2). The mechanism by which the three species of Hapalemur manage to prevent cyanide poisoning has not been determined. Processing cyanogens to avoid the toxic effects may involve a specific enzymatic pathway that is unique to the lemurs and may yield insights into Hapalemur-bamboo coevolution.

Since the first field study of Hapalemur began in the 1960s, there have been several subsequent investigations, including one that made the discovery of H. aureus in 1986 (Meier et al., 1987; Petter, 1962; Petter and Peyrieras, 1970; Petter et al., 1977; Pollock, 1986; Wright, 1986; Wright et al., 1987). More recently, a new generation of researchers has expanded our knowledge about these primates with in-depth studies of H.g. alaotrensis and H.g.griseus (Grassi, 2001; Mutschler et al., 1998, 2000; Nievergelt et al., 1998; Overdorff et al., 1997; Waeber and Hemelrijk,

Table 2. Bamboo species consumed by Hapalemur in southeastern central Madagascar

Scientific and vernacular name

Culm

Location

Presence of cyanide (and parts tested)'

Cathariostachys madagascariensif

Woody

Talatakely, Ranomafana National Park (RNP)

Yes ( young leaf bases, branch shoots, and

Volohosy

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