• primate;
  • lemur;
  • iron;
  • trace minerals;
  • hemosiderosis


Lemurs kept in captivity have been reported to be highly prone to accumulate excessive amounts of iron in tissues (hemosiderosis). Diagnosis of the condition is most commonly made during a postmortem examination because an antemortem diagnosis requires a liver biopsy, a procedure that may not be well tolerated by all animals. The lack of a noninvasive method to evaluate iron status in captive lemurs limits investigators' ability to effectively screen animals for the presence of hemosiderosis, and to detect the condition early when treatment protocols are most effective. This study was conducted in an effort to provide data regarding iron analyte values in healthy captive lemurs of multiple species. The relationship of various iron-related metabolites was evaluated in 177 clinically normal lemurs of nine different species. Serum iron (sI), total iron binding capacity (TIBC), and ferritin concentration were measured directly and the percent transferrin saturation (TS) was calculated. Significant differences in various iron metabolites were observed among several species, suggesting that normal reference values for iron metabolites in lemurs may need to be developed on a species by species basis. Am. J. Primatol. 68:1–13, 2006. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.