Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

Secretive and nocturnal, the Phillipine flying lemur spends the day in tree holes, or gripping a tree trunk or branch with its patagium extended over its body like a cloak. It has also been seen curled up in a ball among the palm fronds of a coconut plantation (2). It ventures out of its shelter at dusk, climbs a short distance up a tree and then glides off in search of food (3). It is capable of executing controlled glides of over 100 metres, with little loss in height (2) (3). While gliding, the Philippine flying lemur is vulnerable to fast-flying birds of prey, such as the majestic Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi). However, gliding is by far their most efficient method of locomotion; on the ground they cannot stand erect and are virtually helpless, and in the trees they are skilful, but very slow, climbers and move in a series of lingering hops (2) (3). The Philippine flying lemur feeds on the young, nutritious leaves from a wide range of trees. With its front foot, it pulls a branch towards itself, moving a bunch of leaves within reach (4). Its stomach is specially adapted for ingesting large quantities of leafy vegetation (2) (4), but it also eats buds, flowers and perhaps soft fruits, and obtains sufficient water from its food and by licking wet leaves (2). Gestation in the Philippine flying lemur lasts for around 60 days, after which the female gives birth to one, rarely two, young (2) (3). They are born in an undeveloped state and carried on the mother, even as she glides, until they are weaned at six months. The patagium can be folded near the tail into a soft, warm 'hammock' in which the young can be carried (2). The Philippine flying lemur reaches adult size at two to three years of age (2).
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Description

The Philippine flying lemur has a strange appearance, and a strange name, as it is neither a true flier, nor a true lemur! It is in fact a rather unique gliding mammal that possesses a distinctive gliding membrane, or patagium, that stretches from the side of the neck to the tips of the fingers and toes, and down to the tip of the tail. The patagium stretches out into the shape of a kite and enables the Philippine flying lemur to glide through the forest for over 100 metres (2) (3). The fur varies greatly in colour and pattern, but generally males are some shade of brown and females are greyish. Both sexes have paler underparts and a shaded, mottled appearance that blends well with the bark of trees (3). The large eyes hint at the flying lemur's nocturnal habits, and they also provide superior vision for accurately judging landings following a glide (2). The Philippine flying lemur has strong, sharp claws with which it anchors itself to a tree trunk or underside of a branch (2).
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Distribution

Range Description

This species is endemic to the Philippines, where it is only found in the Mindanao Faunal Region. It has been recorded from the following islands: Basilan, Biliran, Bohol, Dinagat, Leyte, Maripi, Mindanao (Agusan del Norte, Bukidnon, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental, South Cotabato, Surigao del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, and Zamboanga del Sur provinces), Samar, Siargao and Tongquil (Heaney . 1998; Rickart et al. 1993; Corbet and Hill 1992).
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Geographic Range

Cynocephalus volans occurs on the Philippine islands of Mindanao, Basilan, Samar, Leyte, Bohol.

Biogeographic Regions: oriental (Native ); oceanic islands (Native )

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Range

Occurs in the southern Philippines (3).
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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

Colugos or "flying lemurs" neither resemble lemurs nor do they fly. They are cat-sized and a little smaller than the Malaysian flying lemurs. Fur coloration is usually darker and less spotted than in the Malaysian species. They have huge eyes and faces that resemble those of Old World fruit bats. The head is broad, somewhat like a greyhound's in appearance, with rounded short ears and a blunt muzzle. The limbs are of equal length, with strong sharp claws for climbing, and the toes are connected by webs of skin. This web of skin extends into a distinct structure called a patagium, which stretches from the side of the animal's neck to the tips of the fingers and toes and continues to the very tip of the tail. No other gliding mammal has such an extensive membrane. The arrangement of the unusual and distinctive incisor teeth is similar to that of herbivorous mammals such as cattle or deer. The upper incisors are located on the sides of the jaw and are caniniform, leaving a gap at the front so they do not oppose the forwardly protruded lower incisors. The lower incisors are comb-like with as many as 20 comb tines arising from one root, which may allow scraping and straining food, and also grooming and cleaning the fur. The molars retain a three-cusped insectivore pattern and have a shearing action that includes a large transverse component. This action, and the crenulated enamel of the molars, provide for efficient mastication of plant material. The dental formula is 2/3, 1/1, 2/2, 3/3 = 34.

Range mass: 1 to 1.75 kg.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It is common in lowland primary and secondary forest, and in mixed forest and orchard (Rabor 1986; Rickart et al. 1993; Wischusen et al. 1992, 1994; Wischusen and Richmond 1989; L. Heaney et al. unpubl. data). This species can also tolerate disturbed habitats. It feeds on leaves and some fruit.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Philippine colugos are entirely arboreal. They live in the multilayered rain forest. They are also often found near coconut and rubber plantations.

Terrestrial Biomes: rainforest

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The Philippine flying lemur inhabits primary forest, secondary forest, coconut groves and rubber plantations in mountainous and lowland areas (3).
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Trophic Strategy

Food Habits

The diet of Cynocephalus volans consists mainly of leaves, buds, and flowers from a variety of tree species. Most of the time, they prefer young leaves because young leaves contain higher nutritional value than old leaves. They also might eat fruits and sap. In general,they prefer larger trees for foraging because larger trees produce more young leaves and other food sources. They use their enlarged tongue and specialized lower incisors to pick leaves in a cow-like fashion. The stomach is specialized for ingesting large quantities of leafy vegetation. The intestines are long and convoluted. Their intestine can approach 4 meters in length. The pyloric digestive region, the part near the exit to the intestines, is enlarged and divided into compartments. These chambers harbors microorganisms that help break down cellulose and other relatively indigestible carbohydrates.

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Life History and Behavior

Life Expectancy

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Observations: These are difficult animals to keep in captivity and so little is known about their longevity. There is one report, however, of one animal kept as pet for 17.5 years, after which it escaped (Ronald Nowak 1999).
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Reproduction

Gestation takes 105 days. Usually a single young is produced, but occasionally twins are born. The infant is born in an underdeveloped state (altricial). The infant is carried on the belly of the mother.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); viviparous

Average birth mass: 38.5 g.

Average gestation period: 105 days.

Average number of offspring: 1.

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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Gonzalez, J.C., Custodio, C., Carino, P. & Pamaong-Jose, R.

Reviewer/s
Chiozza, F. & Stuart, S.N. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)

Contributor/s

Justification
This species is listed as Least Concern as it has a presumed large population, it is unlikely to be declining at nearly the rate required to qualify for listing in a threatened category and although there has been significant deforestation the species persists in degraded habitat. Commercial logging is a threat.

History
  • 1996
    Vulnerable
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Although Philippine Colugos are not endangered, they are threatened by deforestation and loss of habitat.

US Federal List: threatened

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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Status

Classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List 2007 (1).
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Population

Population
This species is widespread and common and populations are stable (Heaney et al. 1998).

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
Deforestation is a threat to this species, especially at lower elevations. Commercial logging of second growth forest is also threat. This widespread destruction of lowland forest makes them somewhat vulnerable, but their ability to persist in disturbed forest makes them a relatively resilient species. Their fur is used for making hats in Bohol (C. Custodio pers. comm. 2006). The species is persecuted in Samar because it is thought to be a bad omen (J.C. Gonzales pers. comm. 2006).
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The Philippine flying lemur is threatened by the loss of its forest habitat, due to logging and the conversion of land for agricultural use (2), and the remaining populations of the Philippine flying lemur now occur in isolated forest fragments (3). The threat of habitat loss is compounded by hunting for its soft fur and meat, which is considered a local delicacy (2). Due to its relatively low rates of reproduction and slow rate of maturation, the Philippine flying lemur is very susceptible to population declines caused by such threats, and recovery from a decline would be slow and difficult (3).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
The species is found in a number of protected areas.
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Conservation

At present there are no known conservation measures in place specifically for the Philippine flying lemur, although a number of organizations are working to conserve the forests of the Philippines. It is thought that the most effective step to take to ensure this unique species' survival is the establishment and enforced protection of reserves within its range (2).
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Philippine colugos are considered by plantation owners as pests since their diet contain fruits, leaves, and flowers.

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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Philippine colugos are hunted for their meat.

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Wikipedia

Philippine flying lemur

"Cynocephalus" redirects here. For other uses, see Cynocephalus (disambiguation).

The Philippine flying lemur (Cynocephalus volans) is one of two species of flying lemurs, the only two living species in the order Dermoptera.[3] Additionally, it is the only member of the genus Cynocephalus.

Habitat[edit]

The Philippine flying lemur is endemic to the Philippines. Its population is concentrated in the Mindanao region and Bohol.

Physical features[edit]

Mother with infant

Although called a flying lemur, it cannot fly and is not a lemur. The Philippine flying lemur is one of the two living species of the order Dermoptera. The other species is the Sunda flying lemur.

An average Philippine flying lemur weighs about 1 to 1.7 kg (2.2 to 3.7 lb) and is 14 to 17 in (36 to 43 cm) long. It has a wide head, small ears, and big eyes. Its clawed feet are large and webbed for fast climbing and for gliding. Its 12-in (36-cm) tail is connected to the forelimbs via a patagium. This membrane helps it glide distances of 100 m or more, useful for finding food and escaping predators, such as the Philippine eagle.[4] It is nocturnal and stays in hollow trees or clings on dense foliage during daytime. The female Philippine flying lemur usually gives birth to one young after a two-month gestation period. The young is helpless and attaches itself to its mother's belly, in a pouch fashioned from the mother's skin flaps.

Diet[edit]

Its 34 teeth resemble those of a carnivore, but the Philippine flying lemur eats mainly soft fruits, flowers, and young leaves.

Behavior[edit]

The Philippine flying lemur is arboreal and usually resides in primary and secondary forests. However, some wander into coconut, banana, and rubber plantations. They are considered pests, since they eat fruits and flowers, so are hunted by humans. Their flesh is also cooked as a delicacy, and their fur is used as material for native caps. The IUCN 1996 had declared the species vulnerable owing to the destruction of lowland forests and to hunting, but it was downlisted to Least Concern in 2008. The 2008 IUCN report indicates the species persists in the face of degraded habitat, with its current population large enough to avoid the threatened category.[1]

Captive Philippine flying lemur

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Gonzalez, J. C., Custodia, C., Carino, P. & Pamaong-Jose, R. (2008). Cynocephalus volans. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 30 December 2008.
  2. ^ Linnæus, Carl (1758). Systema naturæ per regna tria naturæ, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I (in Latin) (10 ed.). Holmiæ: Laurentius Salvius. p. 30. Retrieved 21 November 2012. 
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ "Philippine Eagle" (Video). Retrieved 22 November 2012. "Philippine eagle hunting and catching flying lemur" 
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