The creature’s theatricsâ€”an unusual head-bobbing and a loud, high-pitched callâ€”helped scientists detect the lemur recently in Daraina, a protected area of northeastern Madagascar, Conservation International (CI) announced this week.
The squirrel-size critter was first spotted in 1995 by current CI president Russell Mittermeier, but it wasn’t until October that a team including Mittermeier went back to the dry forests to look againâ€”discovering one male, pictured.
The animal has “a somewhat different color pattern” from the four other known fork-marked lemur species, all of which have black, Y-shaped lines that start above each eye and merge as a single line on top of the head. Genetic testing will reveal if the new lemur is indeed the fifth known fork-marked species.
“This is yet another remarkable discovery from the island of Madagascar, the world’s highest priority biodiversity hot spot and one of the most extraordinary places in our planet,” Mittermeier said in a statement.
“It is particularly remarkable that we continue to find new species of lemurs and many other plants and animals in this heavily impacted country, which has already lost 90 percent or more of its original vegetation.”