Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sifaka Lemur

There are nine species of Sifaka Lemur that comprise genus Propithecus, and like all Lemurs they are found on the African Island of Madagascar. They are members of the Primate order, making these guys our distant, distant cousins. Some of you may remember a discovery that came out a few years ago about finding "the missing link." This was actually a 47 million year old Lemur-type species that could be the common ancestor for all primates, including humans.
Image from Animal Photos

The Sifaka Lemurs stand apart from other Lemur species and genera because of their movement. They are upright-standing creatures, and get around by jumping with help from their extremely powerful legs. In trees, they can jump several meters, and on the ground they hop from place to place, doing what some refer to as the Sifaka Dance. The video below illustrates this movement wonderfully.

Sifaka Lemurs receive their names from the "Shif-auk" call that they make. They are herbivores, feeding on leaves, flowers, fruits, and bark. They, like many other primates, living in small social groups, usually consisting of 3-10 members. While there may be multiple sexually mature females, only one of them breeds each year, and that females usually have dominance over males.

All species of Sifaka Lemur are threatened by habitat loss and hunting. Golden-Crowned Sifakas are now listed as critically endangered, with less than 10,000 in existence.


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