Eouticus elegantulus occupies the upper levels of the African rainforest canopy throughout the countries of Southern Cameroon, south of the Sanaga River, Rio Muni (Mainland Equatorial Guinea), Gabon, Congo and South Nigeria.
Biogeographic Regions: ethiopian (Native )
Euoticus elegantulus receives its common name from its distinctive nails. These primates have needle-like nails on all digits except the second toe, which has the usual toilet claw. The nails have a central keel that comes to a point and the tips of the fingers are well padded to help grip barks while these animals forage for gums.
Needle-clawed bush babies are monomorphic, ranging from 495 to 555 mm in length from head to tip of tail. Without the tail, they range from 215 to 235 mm. They weigh between 270 and 360 g.
The fur is very soft, dense, and cinnamon tinted with a darker median dorsal stripe. The tail is long and cylindrical. These animal have short muzzles, huge eyes, and large mobile ears to help keep a lookout for predators. They can also rotate their heads 180 degrees.
Galagos have four incisors and two canines which form a “tooth comb”. This structure helps them to groom their fur. To help clean the tooth comb they have a second, fleshy comb, armed in front with hard pointy horns, and located under the tongue.
No geographic or seasonal variation has been reported. E. elangantulus is distinguished from other bush babies by having a different fur color, different dentition, and a thicker tail.
Range mass: 270 to 360 g.
Range length: 495 to 555 mm.
Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry
Average basal metabolic rate: 1.205 W.
Needle-clawed bushbabies live in primary and secondary forests. They are completely arboreal and nocturnal, occupying the closed canopy of Africa’s tropical rainforest up to about 50 m in height.
Habitat Regions: tropical
Terrestrial Biomes: rainforest
Habitat and Ecology
Euoticus elegantulus is a nocturnal feeder, and is primarily gummivorous. The needle-clawed nails of this species are specially adapted for this diet. They also feed on insects and fruits. Seventy five percent of the diet of this species consists of gums, 20% insects, and 5% fruits (along with some buds). The types of gums they eat upon are, Entada gigas, Albizia gummifera, and Pentacletra eetveldeana.
When foraging for gums, needle-clawed galagos use a regular pathway of trees, stopping at each one every night. These animals can stop at 500 to 1000 gum feeding locations in a single night.
The type of insects and other invertebrates that bushbabies eat belong to the orders Coleoptera (beetles), Lepidoptera (both caterpillars and moths), Orthoptera (grasshoppers), Hymenpoptera (ants), Isoptera (termites), Myriapoda (centipedes and millipedes), Arachnida (spiders), and Gastropoda (slugs). During the dry season, this species strictly survives off of gums.
Animal Foods: insects; terrestrial non-insect arthropods; mollusks
Plant Foods: fruit; flowers; sap or other plant fluids
Primary Diet: omnivore
As nectar feeders, these tiny creatures pollinate some plants. Galagos may also disperse the seeds of the fruits that they eat. As predators, they keep the population of their prey in check. E. elegantulus shares its habitat with another species of bush baby, Galago demidovii. They both exploit the canopy but there isn’t any real competition because they occupy different levels of the canopy and prey on different sizes of prey.
Ecosystem Impact: disperses seeds; pollinates
As predators, they keep the population of their prey in check. They are also eaten by larger creatures, mainly night birds of prey such as owls.
Known prey organisms
This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
Life History and Behavior
Bush babies were named after the cries they emit to identify their territory, which sound like a crying baby. They are constantly prepared for instant flight. They have a series of alarm calls to alert conspecifics to threats of danger. Their series of calls include territorial calls, which sound like a "quee"; alarm calls, which sound like "tee-ya"; infant calls, which sound like "tsic"; maternal calls, which also sound like the infant "tsic" call, but are more powerful; contact-rejection calls, which sound like "ki-ki-ki", and are staccato; aggressive calls, which are described as a "hoarse growl"; and distress calls, which sound like "weet".
Bush babies also have a large glandular area that is used for olfactory communication (scents are secreted from a brachial gland). They will also deposit urine for territorial markings and have social grooming to strengthen the mother/infant bond.
Communication Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical
Other Communication Modes: scent marks
Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical
In captivity individuals can live up to fifteen years.
(Macdonald , 1987)
These animals are thought to live 3 to 4 years in the wild, and 10 to 15 years in captivity.
Status: wild: 3 to 4 years.
Status: captivity: 10 to 15 years.
Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
The mating system of these small, nocturnal primates has not been reported. Male ranges overlap with those of females, suggesting some level of polygyny in the mating system.
Mating System: polygynous
Euoticus elegantulus has no fixed breeding season. Studies have shown that they can have two breeding seasons per year: One in mid-summer and one in mid-winter, depending on food abundance. Females bear a single offspring at a time. Gestation period is about 4 months.
Young of this species can catch insects by 4 to 8 weeks of age. They are weaned by 6 to 11 weeks. By the age of 4 months, a young galago is independent of the mother, but it continues to grow and develop for a year.
When a baby is born, the mother hides out for 3 days away from the male, which might kill the newborn. Infants are born fully furred with their eyes open. Although they have poor coordination, they have the ability to cling to their mother's fur right after birth.
When a mother is foraging she leaves her infant in a nearby hidden nest, or carries the baby with her in her mouth, occasionally leaving it clinging on a nearby branch while she collects food.
Age of sexual maturity is not known for this species.
Breeding interval: A female can breed twice per year, depending on food availability.
Breeding season: There is no fixed breeding season, but peaks may occur in mid-summer and mid-winter.
Average number of offspring: 1.
Average gestation period: 4 months.
Range weaning age: 6 to 11 weeks.
Average time to independence: 4 months.
Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; year-round breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization ; viviparous
Average gestation period: 122 days.
Average number of offspring: 1.
The mother nurses her young for about 6 to 11 weeks. During that time, she cares for the young by carrying it with her on foraging trips, or keeping it safe in a nest.
No male parental care has been reported.
Parental Investment: precocial ; pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female)
The biggest threat to the species E. elegantulus is habitat destruction. There is a lot of timbering and clearing of land for plantations and illegal hunting. To prevent forest primates from extinction, proper forest reserves will have to be put up and that demand sufficient funds.
US Migratory Bird Act: no special status
US Federal List: no special status
CITES: appendix ii
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
In 1940, it was discovered that galagos are a reservoir for the virus which causes yellow fever. Although the galagos don't become ill from this disease, mosquitoes can transmit the disease from the galagos to humans.
Negative Impacts: injures humans (carries human disease)
These animals are used in behavioral research, and are enjoyed by visitors to zoos.
Positive Impacts: research and education
Southern needle-clawed bushbaby
The southern needle-clawed bushbaby (Euoticus elegantulus) is a species of primate in the Galagidae family. It is found in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, possibly Angola, and possibly Democratic Republic of the Congo. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical dry forests. While the species is not threatened or endangered, some local populations may be threatened by habitat loss.
- Groves, C. P. (2005). Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. eds. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 123. OCLC 62265494. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. http://www.bucknell.edu/msw3.
- Bearder, S. (2008). Euoticus elegantulus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 1 January 2009.
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