Sunda flying lemur

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Sunda flying lemur[1]
Galeopterus variegatus
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Dermoptera
Family: Cynocephalidae
Genus: Galeopterus
Thomas, 1908
Species: G. variegatus
Binomial name
Galeopterus variegatus
(Audebert, 1799)
Type species
Galeopitiecus temminckii
Waterhouse, 1838
Sunda flying lemur range

The Sunda flying lemur (Galeopterus variegatus), also known as the Malayan flying lemur or Malayan colugo, is a species of colugo (see below for notes on the common name "flying lemur"). Until recently, it was thought to be one of only two species of flying lemur, the other being the Philippine flying lemur which is found only in the Philippines. The Sunda flying lemur is found throughout Southeast Asia in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore.[3]

The Sunda flying lemur is not a lemur and does not fly. Instead, it glides as it leaps among trees. It is strictly arboreal, is active at night, and feeds on soft plant parts such as young leaves, shoots, flowers, and fruits. After a 60-day gestation period, a single offspring is carried on the mother's abdomen held by a large skin membrane.[4] It is a forest-dependent species.

The head-body length of Sunda flying lemur is about 34 to 38 cm (13 to 15 in). Its tail length is around 24 to 25 cm (9.4 to 9.8 in), and its weight is 0.9 to 1.3 kg (2.0 to 2.9 lb).

The Sunda flying lemur is protected by national legislation. In addition to deforestation and loss of habitat, local subsistence hunting poses a serious threat to this animal. Competition with the plantain squirrel (Callosciurus notatus) represents another challenge for this species. More information is needed on population declines, but at present the rate of the decline is believed to be probably not fast enough to trigger listing in any category other than Least Concern.[2]

Classification and evolution[edit]

Skull

The Sunda flying lemurs' two forms are not morphologically distinct from one another; the large form occurs on the mainland of the Sunda Shelf area and the mainland of Southeast Asia, while the dwarf form occurs in central Laos and some other adjacent islands.[5] The Laos specimen is smaller (about 20%) than the other known mainland population.[6] Despite the large and dwarf forms, four subspecies are known: G. v. variegatus (Java), G. v. temminckii (Sumatra), G. v. borneanus (Borneo), and G. v. peninsulae (Peninsular Malaysia and mainland of Southeast Asia)[5] incorporating on the genetic species concept due to geographic isolation and genetic divergence. Recent molecular and morphological data provide the evidence that the mainland, Javan, and Bornean Sunda flying lemur subspecies may be recognised as three separate species in the genus Galeopterus.[7]

Behaviour and ecology[edit]

The Sunda flying lemur is a skillful climber, but is helpless when on the ground.[8] Its gliding membrane connects from the neck, extending along the limbs to the tips of the fingers, toes and nails.[9] This kite-shaped skin is known as a patagium, which is expanded for gliding. The Sunda flying lemur can glide over a distance of 100 m with a loss of less than 10 m in elevation.[9] It can maneuver and navigate while gliding, but strong rain and wind can affect its ability to glide.[10] Gliding usually occurs in open areas or high in the canopy, especially in dense tropical rainforest. The Sunda flying lemur needs a certain distance to glide and to land to avoid injury.[10] The highest landing forces are experienced after short glides; longer glides lead to softer landings, due to the colugo's ability to brake its glide aerodynamically.[11] The ability to glide increases a colugo's access to scattered food resources in the rainforest, without increasing exposure to terrestrial or arboreal predators.[11]

In general, the diet of the Sunda flying lemur consists mainly of leaves. It usually consumes leaves with less potassium and nitrogen-containing compounds, but with higher tannin.[12] It also feeds on buds,[13] shoots,[14] coconut flowers, durian flowers,[15] fruits,[16] and sap[17] from selected tree species. It also feeds on insects in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo.[18] The selected food sources depend on the localities, habitat, vegetation types, and availability.[19]

The Sunda flying lemur mainly forages in tree canopies. It may forage on several different tree species in a single night,[20][21] or on a single species. It can also be seen licking tree bark of selected tree species to obtain water, nutrients, salts, and minerals.[17]

Distributions and habitats[edit]

The Sunda flying lemur is widely distributed throughout Southeast Asia, ranging from the Sunda Shelf mainland to other islands – Northern Laos,[6] Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia (Peninsular, Sabah and Sarawak), Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia (Kalimantan, Sumatera, Bali, Java),[22][1] and many adjacent islands.[14] Conversely, the Philippine flying lemur (C. volans) is confined to the southern parts of the Philippines only.[1]

The Sunda flying lemur is adapted to many different vegetation types, including gardens, primary and secondary forest,[23] rubber and coconut plantations,[24] fruit orchards (dusun),[15] mangrove swamps,[13] lowlands and upland forests,[25][9] tree plantations,[14] lowland dipterocarp forests, and mountainous areas.[16] However, not all of the mentioned habitats can sustain large colugo populations.

References[edit]

Literature cited[edit]

  • Agoramoorthy, G., Sha, C.M., and Hsu, M.J. (2006). Population, diet and conservation of Malayan flying lemurs in altered and fragmented habitats in Singapore. Biodiversity and Conservation. 15: 2177-2185.
  • Boeadi & Steinmetz, R. (2008). Galeopterus variegatus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 8 Apr 2010.
  • David Burnie & Don E. Wilson (eds), ed. (2005-09-19). Animal: The Definitive Visual Guide to the World's Wildlife (1st paperback edition ed.). Dorling Kindersley. ISBN 0-7566-1634-4. 
  • Byrnes, G., Norman T.-L. Lim., and Andrew, J. Spence. (2008). Take-off and landing kinetics of a free-ranging gliding mammal, the Malayan Colugo (Galeopterus variegatus). Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 275(1638): 1007-1013.
  • Corbet, G.B. and Hill, J.E. (1992). The mammals of the indomalayan region: A systematic review. Natural History Museum Publications. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  • Davis D D. (1958). Mammals of the Kelabit Plateau Northern Sarawak. Chicago: Chicago Natural History Museum.
  • Feldhamer, G.A., Drickamer, L.C., Vessey, S.H. and Merritt, J.F. (2003). Mammalogy: adaptation, diversity and ecology. 2nd edition. McGraw-Hill Companies Inc., New York.
  • Francis, C.M. (2008). A field guide to the mammals of south-east Asia. New Holland Publishers (UK) Ltd, London.
  • Hill, J.E. (1993). Flying lemurs (in encyclopedia of animals). Weldon Owen Pty Limited, Singapore.
  • Janecka, J.E., Helgen, K.M., Lim, N.T.L., Baba, M., Izawa, M., Boeadi, and Murphy, W.J. (2008). Evidence for multiple species of Sunda Colugo. Current Biology. 18: 21.
  • Ketol B., Abdullah M.T. and Tedong, S. (2006). Short notes: Distribution records of the rare flying lemur in Kota Samarahan and Kuching Area, Sarawak. Sarawak Museum Journal. 83: 237-241.
  • Lekagul, B. and McNeely, J.A. (1977). Mammals of Thailand. Kurusapha Ladprao Press, Bangrak (Bangkok).
  • Lim, B.L. (1967). Observations on the food habits and ecological habitat of the Malaysian flying lemur. International Zoo Yearbook. Scotland, Aberdeen University Press. 7: 196-197.
  • Lim, N. (2007). Malayan colugo: The flying lemur of South-East Asia. Draco Publishing and Distribution Pte Ltd, Singapore.
  • Payne, J., Francis, C.M. and Phillipps, K. (1985). A field guide to the mammals of Borneo. Sabah Society, Kota Kinabalu.
  • Ruggeri, N. and Etterson, M. (1998). The first record of colugo (Cynocephalus variegatus) from the Lao P.D.R. Mammalia. 62: 450-451.
  • Sih, A. (1993). Effects of ecological interactions on forager diets: Competition, predation risk, parasitism and prey behaviour. In diet selection: An interdisciplinary approach to foraging behaviour (Hughes, R.N. eds). Blackwell scientific publications. Cambridge University Press, England.
  • Stafford, B.J. and Szalay, F.S. (2000). Craniodental functional morphology and taxonomy of Dermopterans. Journal of Mammalogy. 81: 360-385.
  • Stafford, B. J. (2005). "Order Dermoptera". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 110. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  • Vaughan, T.A. (1986). Mammalogy. 3rd edition. Saunders College Publishing, Philadelphia.
  • Wischusen, E.W. (1990). The foraging ecology and natural history of the Philippine flying lemur (Cynocephalus volans). PhD Thesis. Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
  • Wischusen, E.W. and Richmond, M.E. (1998). Foraging ecology of the Philippine Flying Lemur (Cynocephalus volans). Journal of Mammalogy. 79(4) 1288-1295.
  • Yasuma, S. and Andau, M. (2000). Mammals of Sabah Part-2, habitat and ecology. Tian Sing Printing Co. Sdn.Bhd, Kota Kinabalu.
  • Byrnes, G., Thomas Libby, Norman T.-L. Lim, and Andrew, J. Spence. (2011). Gliding saves time but not energy in Malayan Colugos. Journal of Experimental Biology 214:2690-2696.

Additional references[edit]

  • Anon, (2008). Flying lemurs mating, Bako National Park, Sarawak, Malaysia. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wavNc4nuVyk. Accessed date October 7, 2008.
  • Byrnes, G., Thomas Libby, Norman T.-L. Lim, and Andrew, J. Spence. (2011). Gliding saves time but not energy in Malayan Colugos. Journal of Experimental Biology 214:2690-2696.
  • Chapman, H.C. (1902). Observations upon Galeopithecus volans. Proceedings of the Academy of the Academy of Natural Science of Philadelphia. 54: 241-254.
  • Chasen, F.N. and Kloss, C.B. (1929). Notes on flying lemurs (Galeopterus). Bulletin of the Raffles Museum. 2: 12-22.
  • Dzulhelmi, M.N. and Abdullah, M.T. (2009a). An ethogram construction for the Malayan flying lemur (Galeopterus variegatus) in Bako National Park, Sarawak, Malaysia. Journal of Tropical Biology and Conservation. 5(1): 31-42.
  • Dzulhelmi, M.N. and Abdullah, M.T. (2009b). The foraging ecology of the Sunda Colugo (Galeopterus variegatus) in Bako National Park, Sarawak, Malaysia. Malayan Nature Journal. 61(4): 285-294.
  • Dzulhelmi, M.N. and Abdullah, M.T. (2010). Distribution of the Sunda Colugo (Galeopterus variegatus) in Malaysia (Peninsular, Sabah and Sarawak). Journal of Tropical Life Sciences Research. 21(2): 69-83.
  • Dzulhelmi, M.N., Marzuki, H. and Abdullah, M.T. (2010). Observation on the roosting selection of the Sunda Colugo (Galeopterus variegatus) in Bako National Park, Sarawak, Malaysia. Proceedings of Conference on Natural Resources in the Tropics3: Harnessing Tropical Natural Resources Through Innovations and Technologies. pp. 433–439.
  • Dzulhelmi, M.N. (2011). Behavioural Ecology of the Sunda Colugo Galeopterus variegatus (Mammalia: Dermoptera) in Bako National Park, Sarawak, Malaysia . MSc. Dissertations. Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Kota Samarahan.
  • Dzulhelmi, N. (2013). Natural History of the Colugo. UKM Press: Bangi.
  • Ellerman, J.R. and Morrison-Scott, T.C.S. (1955). Supplement to Chasen, F.N. (1940): A handlist of Malaysian mammals. British Museum. Tonbridge Printers Ltd, London.
  • Henry, C. and Chapman, M.D. (1902). Observation upon Galeopithecus volans. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. 54(1): 241-254.
  • Janecka, J.E., Miller, W., Pringle, T.H., Wiens, F., Zitzmann, A., Helgen, K.M., Springer, M.S., and Murphy, W.J. (2007). Molecular and genomic data identify the closest living relative of primates. Science. 318(5851): 792-794.
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  • Parr, J.W.K., Komolphalin, K. and Wongkalasin, M. (2003). A guide to the large mammals of Thailand. Sarakadee Press, Bangkok.
  • Penry, D.L. (1993). Digestive constraints on diet selection. In diet selection: An interdisciplinary approach to foraging behaviour (Hughes, R.N. eds). Blackwell Scientific Publications. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  • Pettigrew, J.D. (1995). Flying primates: crashed or crashed through?. Symp. Zoological Society of London. 67: 3-26.
  • Schmitz, J., Ohme,M., Suryobroto, B. and Zichler, H. (2002). The colugo (Cynocephalus variegatus), Dermoptera: the Primates’ gliding sister? Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 19: 2308-2312.
  • Schmitz, J., Ohme, M., and Zichler, H. (2003). A novel family of tRNA-derived SINEs in the colugo and two new retrotransposable markers separating dermopterans from primates. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 28: 341-349.
  • Stephen, D.W. and Krebs, J.R. (1986). Foraging theory. Princeton University Press, England.
  • Wharton, C.H. (1950). Notes on the life history of the flying lemur. Journal of Mammalogy. 31: 269-273.
  • Wischusen, E.W. and Richmond, M.E. (1989). Techniques for capturing and marking the Philippine flying lemurs (Cynocephalus volans). Malayan Nature Journal. 43: 100-105.