Overview

Distribution

Galago zanzibaricus, commonly known as Zanzibar bushbabies, can be found in the East African coastal forests from southern Somalia to Mozambique. As the name suggests, they are also native to the island of Zanzibar. However, this species cannot be found on Pemba and Mafia, two nearby islands. Some researchers maintain that the north boundary of this species is the Tana River in Kenya. They are also found up to a few hundred kilometers inland in the Udzungwa Mountains.

Biogeographic Regions: ethiopian (Native )

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Range Description

This species is known from Zanzibar Island, Tanzania (the nominate subspecies), with the form udzungwensis recorded from the lowland Udzungwa Mountains, the Uluguru Mountains and the Usambara Mountains, all in Tanzania. Recorded from sea level to 1100 m asl (Butynski et al. 2006). It has also recently been recorded from Mafia Island (A. Perkin pers. comm. 2008).
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Physical Description

Morphology

Zanzibar bushbabies are generally brown in color. The underside is a lighter shade of brown. The fur is heavy and soft. They have stunningly large red eyes which help them to see at night. The ears are extremely large and the hind limbs are strong and significantly longer than the fore limbs. There is little dimorphism between males and females. The average weight of an adult is 146.8 g. The average weight of an infant at birth is 14.1 g. The body length from head to tail ranges from 14 to 15 cm and the tail length varies from 12 to 15 cm.

Average mass: 146.8 g.

Range length: 140 to 150 mm.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike

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Type Information

Type for Galago zanzibaricus
Catalog Number: USNM 181810
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Male; Adult
Preparation: Skin; Skull
Collector(s): E. Heller
Year Collected: 1911
Locality: Mazeras, Coast Province, Kenya, Africa
  • Type: Heller, E. 1912 Nov 04. Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections. 60 (12): 1.
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Ecology

Habitat

Galago zanzibaricus lives in tropical, lowland coastal forests. They are also found at higher elevations further inland. They have been found at elevations greater than 1,000 m in the montane forests of Tanzania and Malawi. Population densities are highest near rivers. There is little inter-group exchange among G. zanzibaricus as populations are extremely fragmented.

Range elevation: 0 to above 1,000 m.

Habitat Regions: tropical ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: forest

Other Habitat Features: riparian

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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This species occurs in the mid to high canopy of tropical coastal forest, submontane and lowland tropical forest. It may prefer secondary to primary forest. It is presumed to give birth to one or two young per year.

Sympatric with Otolemur garnettii and Galagoides orinus and narrowly sympatric with Galagoides cocos. Parapatric with G. granti, meeting at the Rufiji river.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Trophic Strategy

The diet of Galago zanzibaricus is mostly composed of fruits, insects, and tree gums. Seasonal variation in resource availability plays an important roll in determining what the animals eat. For example, when it rains a lot there may be an abundance of insects, but when no rain falls Zanzibar bushbabies must look to other resources. Occasionally a Zanzibar Bushbaby will prey on other small animals.

Animal Foods: mammals; insects

Plant Foods: leaves; fruit; nectar; sap or other plant fluids

Primary Diet: omnivore

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Associations

Zanzibar bushbabies may disperse the seeds of the fruits they consume.

Ecosystem Impact: disperses seeds

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Their arboreal lifestyle protects Zanzibar bushbabies from many potential predators. They produce warning calls in the presence of genets and puff adders, suggesting that they may be predators of G. zanzibaricus.

Known Predators:

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

The large eyes of Zanzibar bushbabies provide excellent vision at night and the large ears provide an acute sense of hearing. Both attributes are important for navigation in the dark. These animals have loud, distinctive calls about which little is known. They may be a sort of "advertising" call, but they also seem to be used as a warning to others when potential predators are nearby. Like most mammals, chemical cues are probably also important in communication.

Communication Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

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Life Expectancy

Some reports estimate maximum longevity in the wild is 16.5 years. The longest lifespan of a captive G. zanzibaricus is 12.2 years.

Range lifespan

Status: captivity:
12.2 (high) years.

Typical lifespan

Status: wild:
16.5 (high) years.

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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Observations: Despite anecdotal reports that these animals live up to 16.5 years, the record longevity in captivity is 12.2 years (Richard Weigl 2005). Further studies are necessary to establish the maximum longevity of this species.
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Reproduction

This species is polygynous. Females form small, territorial groups. Upon entrance into such a group, a male usually mates with all members (usually 1-3 females). The females provide the vast majority of parental care. Young females stay within their natal groups and young males disperse. Details of their social behavior are not know because of their elusive behavior.

Mating System: polygynous

Reproduction is seasonal, and Zanzibar bushbabies give birth twice a year. Births occur in August to October and February to March. The average gestation period is 120 days. Females usually give birth to one offspring, although in captivity on a few occasions twins have been born. The average number of offspring in captivity is 1.3 but is probably much closer to 1.0 in the wild. Weaning of infants takes place at around four weeks of age. Weaning is done just before the food supply is the lowest (December to January) and directly after food sources are most abundant (May to June). Female G. zanzibaricus mature sexually at around 265 days of age. Males take about 100 days longer to mature (approx. 1 year).  The vagina is sealed at all times except during estrus and birth.

Breeding interval: Zanzibar bushbabies breed twice a year depending on seasonal conditions.

Breeding season: Breeding generally occurs between July and March.

Range number of offspring: 1 to 2.

Average number of offspring: 1.3.

Average gestation period: 120 days.

Average weaning age: 4 weeks.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 265 days.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 365 days.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization ; viviparous

Little is know about parental investment in Zanzibar bushbabies. Females primarily care for the young. Occasionally, male bushbabies will sleep with a female and what is thought to be their offspring. Female young remain in their natal group.

Parental Investment: pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); post-independence association with parents

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Conservation

Conservation Status

Galago zanzibaricus is classified as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Although the species as a whole is widespread and fairly common, its fragmented range results in potential extinction of individual populations. The main threat to this creature is habitat loss due to urbanization and deforestization. Also, the indigenous forests used by G. zanzibaricus are being replaced with exotic conifers, which do not provide appropriate habitat for this species. Zanzibar bushbabies are protected by law in Kenya as well as in certain conservatories such as the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group. Despite these efforts, only about 12% of their total range is protected.

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: appendix ii

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Butynski, T.M., De Jong, Y., Perkin, A., Bearder, S. & Honess, P.

Reviewer/s
Mittermeier, R.A. & Rylands, A.B. (Primate Red List Authority)

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Least Concern as the species is widespread and relatively common, and there are no major threats believed to be resulting in a major range-wide decline.

History
  • 1994
    Vulnerable
    (Groombridge 1994)
  • 1990
    Vulnerable
    (IUCN 1990)
  • 1988
    Insufficiently Known
    (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
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Population

Population
G. zanzibaricus is the most abundant and widespread galago in the coastal forests of Tanzania. The density varies greatly from site to site. In the Udzungwa Mountains (for example, Matundu Forest Reserve), G. z. udzungwensis is estimated to occur at densities of more than 500 individuals/km², whereas <100 individuals/km² occur at many other sites (Butynski et al. 2006).

Although G. z. zanzibaricus is confined to Unguja Island, it is widespread over the eastern and southern parts of the island, and is common in at least some places (e.g., >200 individuals/km² in Jozani–Chwaka Bay National Park (Butynski et al. 2006).

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
This species is threatened through the loss of indigenous forests by replacement with exotic conifers. It is presumably also threatened by a general loss of its forest habitat through conversion to agricultural land and timber extraction.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
This species is listed on Appendix II of CITES. Occurs in a nmber of protected areas. There is a need for better information on the range of this species.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

There are no negative impacts of Galago zanzibaricus on humans.

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Zanzibar bushbabies are important members of the ecosystems in which they live, they are also a potential draw for ecotourism efforts.

Positive Impacts: ecotourism

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Wikipedia

Zanzibar bushbaby

The Zanzibar bushbaby, Matundu dwarf galago, Udzungwa bushbaby, or Zanzibar galago (Galago zanzibaricus) is a primate of the Galagidae family. An adult typically weighs 150 grams (5.3 oz), its head-body length is 14 to 15 centimetres (5.5 to 5.9 in) and its tail is between 12 and 15 centimetres (4.7 and 5.9 in) long. Like other species of galagos, its diet consists mainly of fruit, insects, and tree gums.[3]

For a time, this species and Prince Demidoff's bushbaby were removed from the genus Galago and placed into the new genus Galagoides. It is the most widespread and abundant bushbaby in the coastal forests of Tanzania. It is thought to prefer the mid to high canopy of tropical coastal forest, submontane and lowland tropical forest. It has one or two young per year.[2]

There are two subspecies of this bushbaby:

References

  1. ^ Groves, C. P. (2005). In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 126. OCLC 62265494. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. 
  2. ^ a b Butynski, T. M. M., De Jong, Y., Perkin, A., Bearder, S. & Honess, P. (2008). Galagoides zanzibaricus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 1 January 2009.
  3. ^ "Zanzibar galago". Encyclopedia of Life. Retrieved 2013-04-24. 
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