Genus Phaner

Gray, 1871

General characteristics

This genus Phaner contains only the species Phaner furcifer, which is a small, very agile lemur and which is strictly nocturnal and has a very special diet. P. furcifer is slightly larger than Mirza coquereli, with which it can be confused. The genus was created by Gray in order to separate Lemur furcifer Blainville, and this classification is resumed by Schwarz, 1931. This species has also been classified in the genera Cheirogaleus and Microcebus (Rode, 1939).

Phaner furcifer is a small lemur of 360 - 500 g (Petter et al., 1977). Two dark-brown stripes start above its eyes, join on top of the head and extend along the back. The distal half of its tail is black. Fur on the back is gray-brown, the ventral parts are white to pale brown (Tattersall, 1982).

Phaner has a wide but discontinuous distribution in Madagascar (Map Phaner furcifer).

Though traditionally viewed as monotypic it was suggested by Petter et al., 1975 that the populations in the north and east should be regarded as distinct subspecies. Groves and Tattersall, 1991 descibed four subspecies: P. f. furcifer on the Masoala Peninsula; P. f. pallescens in western Madagascar from just south of Fiherenana River to the region of Soalala (though the authors consider it absent between the Tsiribihina River and Namoroka).