Perrier's sifaka

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Perrier's sifaka
Propithecus perrieri 001.jpg
CITES Appendix I (CITES)[2]
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Suborder: Strepsirrhini
Family: Indriidae
Genus: Propithecus
P. perrieri
Binomial name
Propithecus perrieri
Propithecus perrieri range map.svg
Distribution of P. perrieri[1]

Perrier's sifaka (Propithecus perrieri) is a lemur endemic to Madagascar. It was formerly considered to be a subspecies of diademed sifaka[4] It has a very small range in northeastern Madagascar where its habitat is dry deciduous or semi-humid forest. Part of its range is in protected areas. It is an almost entirely black sifaka and measures about 90 cm (35 in), half of which is a bushy tail. Females are slightly larger than males.

It moves in small family groups through the canopy feeding on fruit, leaves, flowers, buds and seeds. Groups have territories of about one hectare and vocalise with each other. The main threats faced by this sifaka are habitat destruction and fragmentation due to slash and burn agriculture, charcoal gathering, and logging. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has rated its conservation status as "critically endangered" [5] and is considered to be one of the 25 most endangered primates in the world.[6]


It has a length of 85 to 92 centimeters, of which 42-46 centimeters are tail.[7] Its pelage is almost entirely black[7] covering everywhere on their body except for their face and ears. They have small, forward-facing eyes. The species have masses ranging from 3.7 to 6.0 kg. They have minimal sexual dimorphism, however females are slightly larger mass on average.[8]


Perrier's sifaka has a very limited range in northeastern Madagascar between the Irodo River to the north and the Lokia River to the south.[7] The species' geographic range is concentrated on the Analamerana Special Reserve managed by Madagascar National Parks and in the Andrafiamena Protected Area managed by the NGO Fanamby.[9] Its presence in the Ankarana National Park has been reported a few decades ago but could unfortunately not be confirmed in the last decade.[9]

2012 updated fine scale Perrier's sifaka distribution [9]

Its habitat consists of dry deciduous and semi-humid forest.[7] Groups of this species have a home range of about one hectare.

Past Distribution[edit]

The hypothesis that northern sifaka species saw their distribution contract is supported by phylogeographic, genetic and fossil data.[10] In contrast to the other sifaka species, P. tattersalli and P. perrieri have a disjunct and restricted distribution in the north part of Madagascar far removed from the northern limit of their sister species (Supplementary figure 1 in Salmona et al. 2017[10]). In addition, bones attributed to P. cf verreauxi (i.e. western sifaka) and P. cf diadema (i.e. eastern sifaka) were found in Ankarana (Figure 1 in Salmona et al., 2017,[10] Jungers et al. 1995) and bones of P. cf diadema were reported at Andavakoera (Montagne des Français, Figure 1 in Salmona et al., 2017;[10] Godfrey et al. 1996). Although these sifaka subfossils were not radiocarbon dated, they suggest that the paleodistribution of both sifaka species were much wider than today and possibly overlapping.[10]

Demographic History[edit]

Using population genetic analyses Salmona et al. 2017[10] inferred the demographic history of P.perrieri. Their analyses show that P. perrieri underwent a major demographic decline which most likely occurred after the mid-Holocene transition (in the last 5,000 years). While mid-Holocene climate change probably triggered major demographic changes in northern lemur species range and connectivity, human settlements that expanded over the last four millennia in northern Madagascar likely played a role in the loss and fragmentation of the forest cover.[10]


The diet of Perrier's sifaka resembles that of other sifakas, consisting of fruit, leaves, flowers, buds, petioles, and seeds. Sifakas are naturally suited for this herbivorous diet because they have long gastrointestinal tracts and enlarged cecums.[11] Groups of sifaka do not show any aggression towards other groups when feeding, let alone come into contact with each other.[12] Sifakas in general show seasonal variation in diet. During the wet season, Perrier's sifakas contribute most of their feeding time, about 70 to 90 percent of it, to fruits and seeds, but in the dry season most of the species feeding time is spent on leaves and flowers.[11]


Perrier's sifakas use vocalizations to communicate including warning calls and have even been observed to make a sound described as sneezing.[8]

Social Structure[edit]

Sifakas have groups between 2 and 6 individuals.[7] Dispersal of sex is unbiased, which is uncommon among most species. Aggression between groups is extremely low as well as the overall encounter rates between groups. Society is largely matriarchal and females have feeding priority.[11] Mating habits have not been thoroughly studied yet.[8]

Life Cycle[edit]

The reproductive cycle is bound to the season and sifakas reproduce either every year or every two years. Infants have a slow growth rate given the large abundance of food on Madagascar, but dental development is just the opposite. A hypothesis has been put forth that this is to reduce the dependency period of the offspring and increase the chance of survival for the mother, who does not have to expend energy and time to raise her offspring. Most females do not place much effort into individual offspring, as half of sifaka infants die before the age of one.[11] Infants become independent at the age of two and reach sexual maturity at the age of four for females and at the age of five for males. Males use genital swelling to communicate that they are ready for sex.[8]

Conservation status[edit]

Perrier's sifaka is one of the most endangered primates due to the limited distribution and low population density.[9][13] It is listed in CITES Appendix I.[2] A recent conservation plan for the Perrier's sifaka has been developed following the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission (SSC) Lemur Red List reassessment meeting in Antananarivo in 2012.[14][15] While selective logging still seems to be one of the main threads in Analamerana special reserve, deforestation for slash and burn agriculture and for charcoal production is predominant in Andrafiamena-Andavakoera protected area. Given the small total population size, persistence of local threats and the paucity of wildlife patrols, an appraisal of its population levels and an effective control of habitat loss are urgently needed. This requires, a unified regional management plan since the species’ natural range and potential areas of migration/seasonal presence overlap with three PA of different protective status, independently managed by Madagascar National Parks (Analamerana and Ankarana) and Fanamby (Andrafiamena). Given the diverse group of stakeholders involved (e.g. park services, ministries, universities, tour operators, local businesses, farmers etc.), P.perrieri conservation requires a clearly defined institution, committed to leading its conservation plan with incentives for inclusive action that take advantage of the strengths of the different participants .


  1. ^ a b Andriaholinirina, N.; et al. (2014). "Propithecus perrieri". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2014: e.T18361A16116407. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2014-1.RLTS.T18361A16116407.en. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Checklist of CITES Species". CITES. UNEP-WCMC. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  3. ^ Groves, C.P. (2005). Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M., eds. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. OCLC 62265494.
  4. ^ Christoph Schwitzer; Olivier Arnoult; Berthe Rakotosamimanana. "An international conservation and research programme for Perrier's sifaka (Propithecus perrieri Lavauden, 1931) in northern Madagascar" (PDF). Lemur News Vol. 11, 2006. Lemur News. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  5. ^ "IUCN".
  6. ^ Mittermeire, Russell A; Valladares-Padua, Claudio; Rylands, Anthony B; Eudey, Ardith A; Butynski, Thomas M; Ganzhorn, Jorg U; Kormos, Rebecca; Aguiar, John M; Walker, Sally (2006). "Primates in Peril: The World's Most Endangered Primates, 2004–2006". Primate Conservation. 20: 1–28.
  7. ^ a b c d e Garbutt, Nick (2007). Mammals of Madagascar, A Complete Guide. pp. 189–191.
  8. ^ a b c d "Facts about Perrier's Sifaka (Propithecus perrieri)". Retrieved 26 July 2012.
  9. ^ a b c d Salmona J, Jan F, Rasolondraibe E, Zaranaina R, Saïd Ousseni D, Mohamed-Thani I, Rakotonanahary A, Ralantoharijaona T, Kun-Rodrigues C, Carreira M, Wohlhauser S, Ranirison P, Zaonarivelo JR, Rabarivola JC, Chikhi L (2013). "Survey of the critically endangered Perrier's sifaka (Propithecus Perrieri) across most if its distribution range. Lemur News 17:9–12" (PDF). Retrieved 3 April 2014.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Salmona, Jordi; Heller, Rasmus; Quéméré, Erwan; Chikhi, Lounès (2017-10-01). "Climate change and human colonization triggered habitat loss and fragmentation in Madagascar". Molecular Ecology. 26 (19): 5203–5222. doi:10.1111/mec.14173. ISSN 1365-294X.
  11. ^ a b c d Irwin, Mitchell. "Ecologically Enigmatic Lemurs: The Sifakas of the Eastern Forests (Propithecus candidus, P. diadema, P. edwardsi, P. perrieri, and P. tattersalli)" (PDF). Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  12. ^ Shawn Lehman; Mireya Mayor. "Dietary Patterns in Perrier's Sifakas (Propithecus diadema perrieri): A Preliminary Study" (PDF). Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  13. ^ Banks MA, Ellis ER, Wright PC (2007) Global population size of a critically endangered lemur, Perrier’s sifaka. Animal Conservation 10:254–262
  14. ^ Salmona J, Zaonarivelo JR, Banks MA (2013) Analamerana and Andrafiamena, site-based action plan for Perrier’s sifaka conservation. In: Schwitzer C, Mittermeier RA, Davies N, Johnson SE, Ratsimbazafy J, Razafindramanana J, Louis EE, Rajaobelina S (eds) Lemurs of Madagascar: a strategy for their conservation 2013–2016. Bristol, UK: IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group, Bristol Conservation and Science Foundation, and Conservation International. p, p 140–141
  15. ^ Schwitzer C, Mittermeier RA, Davies N, Johnson S, Ratsimbazafy J, Razafindramanana J, Louis Jr EE, Rajaobelina S (2013). "Lemurs of Madagascar A Strategy for their Conservation 2013–2016. IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group, Bristol Conservation and Science Foundation, and Conservation International, Bristol, UK" (PDF). Retrieved 3 April 2014.

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