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Phaner pallescens Groves and Tattersall, 1991

Scientific name: 
Scientist name: 
Groves and Tattersall, 1991
Tanta, Tantaraolana, Vakivoho
Pale Fork-marked Lemur
Westlicher Gabelstreifenmaki
Other english: 
Western Fork-marked Lemur
Phaner occidental, Lémurien à fourche occidental, Phaner pâle



Phaner pallescens is the palest and possibly the smallest of the fork-marked lemurs. Tattersall (1982) reported head-body lengths ranging from 23–29 cm and tail lengths from 29–37 cm. Schülke (2003a) measured 18 adults: head-body length 26.3 ±0.9 cm; tail length 31.9 ±1.2 cm; and a weight of 327 ±1.2 g. Twelve animals from Zombitse (8) and Kirindy (4) measured by E. E. Louis Jr. (unpubl.) averaged 23.7 ±0.9 cm in head-body length; 32.1 ±1.3 cm in tail length, and 340 ±30 g in weight. The dorsal coat is light gray with a silvery sheen. The crown fork and the dorsal midline stripe are poorly defined, but the stripe does reach the rump. The terminal half to three-fourths of the tail is dark, as are the hands and feet. As with all Phaner, location is the best indicator as to which species is being seen in the wild. This species is sympatric with several other nocturnal lemur genera, including Microcebus, Cheirogaleus, Mirza, and Lepilemur. However, it can readily be distinguished from Microcebus by its size, and from all others by its rapid movements, the forked pattern on the crown, the very loud and distinctive vocalizations, and the unusual head-bobbing movements, which are readily visible in the beam of a flashlight.