Genus Cheirogaleus

E. Geoffroy, 1812

General characteristics

The genus Cheirogaleus consists of small nocturnal and discrete lemurs, with an elongated body and with short legs. Their diet is mainly frugivorous.


The genus Cheirogaleus has many synonyms and is classically divided into two species: Cheirogaleus major (Geoffroy pl10.1) E. Geoffroy, 1812 and Cheirogaleus medius (Geoffroy pl10.2) E. Geoffroy, 1812.

C. medius is often considered to represent a separate genus: Opolemur Gray, 1873 and Altililemur Elliot, 1913. Other authors have placed it into the genus Microcebus (Kollman, 1910; Grandidier and Petit, 1932).
With the traditional techniques it is not possible to distinguish the chromosomal formulas of Cheirogaleus major and Cheirogaleus medius from those of Microcebus. They all have the diploid number 66. All autosomes are acrocentric. Except for the X-chromosome which is submedian and the Y-chromosome is acrocentric of very small size.