This species is named after the thick black and white coat it possesses, especially the thick tufts on its ears. Three subspecies of variegata are recognised, each occupying a different range: Varecia variegata subcincta is the most northerly subspecies, occurring from the Antainambalana River south to the Anova River. They are very arboreal and daytime active, they often like to hang upside down by their feet to feed. There are only two very distinctive sub-species of Black and White ruffed lemur; this and the variegata sub species.