Overview

Distribution

Range Description

This species is endemic to Madagascar where it is found in the east between the Mangoro and Onive Rivers and the Manampatrana River and Andringitra National Park. At the northern limit of its range (at the Nosivolo and the Mangoro River) there seems to be a clinal gradient between P. diadema and P. edwardsi (Andriaholinirina and Rabarivola 2004). Ranges from 600-1,600 m.
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Geographic Range

Propithecus edwardsi is found only on the island of Madagascar which lies off the southwest coast of Africa. They are only found in a small area of southeastern Madagascar from the Mangoro and Onvine rivers in the north to the Rienana River in the south, within the Andringitra National Park. Formerly they probably occurred as far south as the Manampatrana River. A clinal gradient seems to be expressed between Propithecus edwardsi and Propithecus diadema due to a change in environments. They are both found in the same area but P. diadema is found on more inland mountain ranges.

Biogeographic Regions: ethiopian (Native )

Other Geographic Terms: island endemic

  • Tattersall, I. 1982. The Primates of Madagascar. New York: Columbia University Press.
  • Tattersall, I., R. Sussman. 1975. Lemur Biology. New York and London: Plenum Press.
  • Konstant, W., F. Hawkins, E. Louis, O. Langrand, J. Ratsimbazafy, R. Rasoloarison, J. Ganzhorn, S. Rajaobelina, I. Tattersall, D. Meyers. 2006. Lemurs of Madagascar. Colombia: Conservational International.
  • 2008. "IUCN Redlist" (On-line). Accessed April 08, 2009 at http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/18359.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

Milne-Edward's sifakas are black or chocolate brown sifakas with white patches on the hind legs and back. These white patches are not always present and sometimes are replaced by silver-tipped hairs. They have a short, naked black face with forward facing eyes for increased depth perception. The ears are also naked but generally covered by the fur on the head. Males have a dark black or brown gular gland. Their eyes are orange-red. Head and body length is from 42 to 52 cm, tail length is from 41 to 48 cm, and weight is from 5 to 6.5 kg.

Range mass: 5 to 6.5 kg.

Range length: 42 to 52 cm.

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 found in primary and slightly degraded rainforest forests at middle to high elevations. The typical group size is from three to nine individuals, groups range over areas of 40 to 250 ha. Infants typically are born in June and July every other year. Predation, especially by the fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox), is a significant cause of mortality, but some infant losses also are attributable to infanticidal male sifakas. Infant mortality has been calculated at almost 50% before the age of one year, but it is particularly high in exploited forests (Mittermeier et al. 2008, and references therein). Long-term studies have shown that these sifakas are long-lived, reproduce slowly, have high infant and adult mortalities, and are poor dispersers across fragmented habitats (Pochron et al. 2004).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Milne-Edward's sifakas live on the eastern coast of Madagascar in the coastal mountain range in primary and secondary forest habitats from 600 to 1600 m elevatiion. Forested habitats in these mountains have been reduced by human exploitation, although areas are now protected in refuges.

Range elevation: 600 to 1600 m.

Habitat Regions: tropical ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: forest ; rainforest ; mountains

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Trophic Strategy

Food Habits

Milne-Edward's sifakas are mainly frugivores, but they also eat leaves, seeds, and flowers. They eat a wide variety of plants on a daily basis and throughout the year, with their diet varying with seasonal availability of foods.

Plant Foods: leaves; wood, bark, or stems; seeds, grains, and nuts; fruit; flowers

Primary Diet: herbivore (Frugivore )

  • Gould, L., M. Sauther. 2006. Lemurs: Ecology and Adaptations. New York: Springer.
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Associations

Ecosystem Roles

Milne-Edward's sifakas eat fruit which helps to disperse the seeds of the trees they forage in. They also help to create awareness of endangered endemic species and generate support for forest conservation in Madagascar.

Ecosystem Impact: disperses seeds

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Predation

Milne-Edward's sifakas are preyed on by fossas (Cryptoprocta ferox). In order to avoid these predators they use their jumping speed which surpasses the speed of a fossa in the trees. Young may also be preyed on by large raptors, although this has not been documented.

Known Predators:

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Communication and Perception

Milne-Edward's sifakas use different sounds to communicate. “Moos” are used to inform others of group’s location. Warning calls include a sudden “zusss” sound to warn of enemies on the ground and barking, which warns of aerial threats. When they are lost, individuals whistle to let their group know where to find them. Allogroooming is a form of tactile communication and it is likely that other forms of touch and body language are used among individuals. Scent marking by males is a form of sexual communication.

Communication Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

Other Communication Modes: scent marks

Perception Channels: visual ; acoustic

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Life Expectancy

Lifespan/Longevity

Milne-Edward's sifakas can live a long time and reproduce slowly. Almost half of all young Milne-Edward's sifakas do not survive beyond 1 year because of predation and stress associated with habitat loss. Some mortalities of young are the result of infanticide by males from outside of family groups.

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Reproduction

Milne-Edward's sifakas are generally not monogamous for life. Family groups normally have one adult pair which reproduces. The rest of the family group is usually the offspring of this pair. During the mating season, towards the end of May, males sometimes move through groups, which helps to maintain diversity in the gene pool. Milne-Edward's sifakas currently tend to live in somewhat larger groups because of the restriction of their home ranges due to habiat loss. Males use their gular glands to stimulate estrus in females. They mark trees and branches and even mark the fur on the head and back of the members of the opposite sex. Males follow females smelling their genitalia to determine mating readiness.

Mating System: monogamous

Milne-Edward's sifakas reproduce slowly. Females reproduce every other year, with birth in June and July. Family groups tend to have one pair of breeding adults, the rest of the group are their offspring from past seasons. Groups typically only grow by one or two new members every breeding season.

Breeding interval: Females breed every other year.

Breeding season: End of May

Range number of offspring: 1 to 2.

Range gestation period: 17 to 22 weeks.

Average weaning age: 2 months.

Average time to independence: 8 months.

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

Milne-Edward's sifaka young are carried on their mother's stomach until they are ready to latch onto their backs at about 3 to 4 weeks old. Once an infant sifaka starts to try climbing and leaping on its own, it is not unusual to see them fall. Sifakas learn by watching adults. When a mother sifaka sees that her young as fallen, she goes to take care of it. Females are usually in charge of taking care of the infants. However, it is not uncommon to see male sifakas providing food to females to give to their young and sometimes the young of others.

Parental Investment: precocial ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-independence (Provisioning: Male, Female, Protecting: Female); post-independence association with parents; extended period of juvenile learning

  • Tattersall, I. 1982. The Primates of Madagascar. New York: Columbia University Press.
  • Tattersall, I., R. Sussman. 1975. Lemur Biology. New York and London: Plenum Press.
  • 2008. "IUCN Redlist" (On-line). Accessed April 08, 2009 at http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/18359.
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
EN
Endangered

Red List Criteria
A2cd+3cd

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Andrainarivo, C., Andriaholinirina, V.N., Feistner, A., Felix, T., Ganzhorn, J., Garbutt, N., Golden, C., Konstant, B., Louis Jr., E., Meyers, D., Mittermeier, R.A., Perieras, A., Princee, F., Rabarivola, J.C., Rakotosamimanana, B., Rasamimanana, H., Ratsimbazafy, J., Raveloarinoro, G., Razafimanantsoa, A., Rumpler, Y., Schwitzer, C., Thalmann, U., Wilmé, L. & Wright, P.

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

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Endangered as the species is thought to have undergone a reduction of more than 50% over the past 30 years (assuming a generation length of 10 years) due primarily to a decline in area and quality of habitat within the known range of the species and due to levels of exploitation. One recent demographic study, involving 18 years of data, revealed that a 50% population decline within the coming three generations was also very likely.

History
  • 2000
    Endangered
  • 1996
    Endangered
  • 1990
    Endangered
    (IUCN 1990)
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Milne-Edward's sifakas are endangered primarily because of habitat loss. Over the past thirty years the total wild population has decreased by more than 50%. It is predicted that the population will experience another 50% decrease over the next three years. Loss of habitat is due to logging, gold mining, and illegal rum production. Other human impacts include hunting, mostly in the northern part of their habitat. Hunting and deforestation are considered the most serious threats to Propithecus edwardsi populations. In an effort to help conserve the species there are a few national parks set aside in their range. There are reports of them living in some forests outside of these parks. There are no known captive populations.

US Federal List: endangered

CITES: appendix i

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: endangered

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Population

Population
Population density estimates are relatively low at 7.6 individuals/km² in Ranomafana National Park (Irwin et al. 2005). South of Ranomafana in the corridor between the park and Andringritra there are good remaining populations of the species, although they occur at much lower densities (about 3/km²). Projecting across the entire range the total number of individuals is estimated at about 20,000 individuals (Irwin et al. 2005).

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
Habitat destruction due to slash-and-burn agriculture and logging, even within protected areas, represents the principal threat to this species’ survival. Habitat loss is also taking place due to gold mining outside of the Ranomafana on the western boundary, and illegal rum production is a threat in the Fandriana region. These are also large-bodied lemurs, and a favoured prey item among hunters, with hunting taking place by means of slingshots, blowguns and firearms, especially north of Ranomafana, as local taboos operate in the southern parts of the range.

Recently, Dunham et al. (2008) performed a demographic study of Propithecus edwardsi, to evaluate the impact of deforestation, hunting, and El Niño on its population. Over 18 years of demographic data, including survival and fecundity rates were used to parameterize a stochastic population model structured with three stage classes (yearlings, juveniles, and adults). Results demonstrate that hunting and deforestation are the most significant threats to the population. Analysis of several plausible scenarios and combinations of threat revealed that a 50% population
decline within three generations was very likely.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
This species is listed on Appendix I of CITES. Milne-Edwards’ sifaka is known to occur in two national parks (Andringitra and Ranomafana). Its suggested presence in Andohahela National Park (O’Connor et al. 1986, 1987) has not been verified by subsequent field surveys (Feistner and Schmid 1999). Populations have also been identified in unprotected forests north of Ranomafana, including those nearby the villages of Kirisiasy, Marofotsy, Fandriana and Marolambo. Marofotsy should be immediately included within the existing Ranomafana National Park. A large number of forest reserves have been established in eastern Fianarantsoa Province, some of which may still harbor populations of P. edwardsi, and these could be included within a conservation corridor linking Ranomafana and Andringitra National Parks (Mittermeier et al. 2008). As of 2007, no animals are known to be held in captive breeding programmes.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Milne-Edward's sifakas have no recorded negative impacts on humans.

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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Milne-Edward's sifakas are sometimes hunted for food, but hunting is restricted due to difficulty acquiring guns. They also create a need for selective logging so that the remaining forest has the characteristics necessary to support populations of Milne-Edward's sifakas. They are an important and charismatic member of native Malagasy forests.

Positive Impacts: food ; ecotourism ; research and education

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Wikipedia

Milne-Edwards' sifaka

Milne-Edwards' sifaka (Propithecus edwardsi), or Milne-Edwards' simpona, is a large arboreal, diurnal lemur endemic to the eastern coastal rainforest of Madagascar. Milne-Edwards' sifaka is characterized by a black body with a light-colored "saddle" on the lower part of its back. It is closely related to the diademed sifaka, and was until recently considered a subspecies of it.[1] Like all sifakas, it is a primate in the family Indriidae.

Conservation status[edit]

Milne-Edwards' sifaka is categorized as Endangered by the IUCN.[2] As of 2008 there were estimated to be approximately 28600 individuals left with only about 3500 of those remaining in protected areas.[3] It remains threatened by habitat loss, hunting and may be sensitive to a changing climate.[3]

Anatomy and physiology[edit]

A Milne-Edwards' sifaka in Ranomafana National Park

Milne-Edwards' sifaka is the second largest species in Propithecus, and one of the larger diurnal lemur species overall. The average weight of a male Milne-Edwards' sifaka is 5.90 kg (13.0 lb) and for females it is 6.30 kg (13.9 lb). The body length excluding the tail is 47.6 cm (18.7 in) for males and females measure 47.7 cm (18.8 in).[4] The tail is slightly shorter than the body, averaging 455 mm (17.9 in) in length or about 94% of the total head and body length.[5]

The Milne-Edwards' sifaka has a typical Propithecus body shape with orange-red eyes and a short, black, bare face ringed by a puffy spray of dark brown to black fur. The majority of its coat is dark brown or black long silky fur, but on the center of the sifaka's back and flanks is a brown to cream colored saddle shaped area which is divided in half by a line of dark fur along the spine. The shape and coloration of the saddle patch vary by individual. The Milne-Edwards' sifaka exhibit neither sexual dimorphism nor sexual dichromatism.[4]

As with all lemurs, the Milne-Edwards' sifaka has special adaptations for grooming, including a toilet-claw on its second toe, and a toothcomb.[6][7]

The hands and feet of the lemur have prehensile "thumbs" and big toes, which allow it to maintain a superb grip on trunks and branches. The pads of its fingers and toes are rough and have a large contact area. Its nails are also sharp and pointed, which allows them to dig in if it slips. The big toe of the Milne-Edwards' sifaka and indrids in general is longer and has a deeper cleft compared to that of lemurids. This is thought to reflect stronger grasping abilities.[8]

Locomotion[edit]

The arboreal lifestyle of P. edwardsi demands high coordination, a well-developed grip, and considerable acrobatics. This lemur moves by vertical clinging and leaping, meaning it maintains an upright position leaping from tree trunk to tree trunk and moving along branches. It leaping between trees, the Milne-Edwards' sifaka performs a 180 degree twist in midair so that it is facing the incoming landing target. Primarily movements of the arms but also those of the tail are used to adjust the body's rotation and stability on the fly. When landing, the Milne-Edwards' sifaka swings its tail and outstretched forearms downward to help keep the body forward much like a long-jumper. It hands hind legs first. The tail and one arm is flung forward turing takeoff.[5]

Milne-Edwards' sifakas can probably leap between 8 to 10 m (26 to 33 ft). The lemur rarely descends from the relative safety of the canopy, so spends little time on the ground. P. edwardsi will solely use trees to traverse its habitat, however if forced to cross open area like roads it will use a bipedal sideways hop.[9][10]

The Milne-Edwards' sifaka can hang from its hind legs upside-down.[8]

The sifaka practices climbing and leaping in its infancy when it ventures from its mother's back. It is not uncommon for infant lemurs to fall, whereupon the mother quickly comes to the infant's assistance. Adult lemurs typically don't fall although they may occasionally lose their grip if the bark of the tree shears off from beneath their fingers. Lemurs may carry food while they travel in their hands, though they prefer to place the objects in their mouth.

Genus Propithecus Feet.jpg

Ecology[edit]

Geographic range and habitat[edit]

Milne-Edwards' sifaka is endemic to the island of Madagascar off the southeastern coast of Africa. Milne-Edwards' sifaka is found in primary and secondary rainforests on the southeastern part of the island at elevations between 600 and 1,600 m (2,000 and 5,200 ft). Milne-Edwards' sifaka has the southern-most range of the diademed sifakas. The Mangoro and Onive Rivers border the northern part of its range and its southern range extends to Andringitra National Park and the Rienana River.[4][11]

Sympatric relations[edit]

The following lemur species can be found within the same geographic range as the Milne-Edwards' sifaka:[4][12]

Behavior[edit]

The behavior and social organization of P. edwardsi is particularly well studied.[4] The Milne-Edwards' sifaka is arboreal, diurnal, territorial, and group-forming. Females are dominant over males, typical of lemurs but extremely rare in all other primates.

Diet[edit]

The Milne-Edwards' sifaka's diet is composed primarily of both mature and immature leaves and seeds, but they also regularly consume flowers and fruit. They also supplement their diet with soil and subterranean fungus. In the process of foraging, the Milne-Edwards' sifakas range an average of 670 m (2,200 ft) per day.[4]

Social organization[edit]

Milne-Edwards' sifakas form multi-male/multi-female, multi-age groups of between three and nine individuals with a mean group size of 4.8.[4] Depending on the number and gender of individuals, the group may be polygynandrous, polyandrous, polygynous, or monogamous. Shifts in the number of individuals or the ratio of males and females will affect the social structure. The groups provide protection from predators, while the size is limited by inter-group competition for seasonal feeding resources. Group dynamics are probably dictated by balancing the benefits and costs of predation protection, inter-group competition for food resources, and mating opportunities. About half of Milne-Edwards' sifakas of the individuals of both sexes born in a particular group will emigrate; females leave as juveniles, while males can leave as both juveniles and adults.[4]

Reproduction[edit]

Milne-Edwards' sifakas become sexually mature at 2 or 3 years or age. Milne-Edwards' sifakas have one mating season annually during the austral summer in the months of December and January. Females give birth during the austral winter months of May and July after a 179-day gestation.[4]

Research[edit]

Most of the research on Propithecus edwardsi is conducted at Ranomafana National Park in Madagascar. Most of the lemurs are collared and the lead females carry a tracking device. Currently there are no captive lemurs of this species.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Groves, C. P. (2005). "Propithecus edwardsi". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 120. OCLC 62265494. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. 
  2. ^ a b Andriaholinirina, N., Baden, A., Blanco, M., Chikhi, L., Cooke, A., Davies, N., Dolch, R., Donati, G., Ganzhorn, J., Golden, C., Groeneveld, L.F., Irwin, M., Johnson, S., Kappeler, P., King, T., Lewis, R., Louis, E.E., Markolf, M., Mass, V., Mittermeier, R.A., Nichols, R., Patel, E., Rabarivola, C.J., Raharivololona, B., Rajaobelina, S., Rakotoarisoa, G., Rakotomanga, B., Rakotonanahary, J., Rakotondrainibe, H., Rakotondratsimba, G., Rakotondratsimba, M., Rakotonirina, L., Ralainasolo, F.B., Ralison, J., Ramahaleo, T., Ranaivoarisoa, J.F., Randrianahaleo, S.I., Randrianambinina, B., Randrianarimanana, L., Randrianasolo, H., Randriatahina, G., Rasamimananana, H., Rasolofoharivelo, T., Rasoloharijaona, S., Ratelolahy, F., Ratsimbazafy, J., Ratsimbazafy, N., Razafindraibe, H., Razafindramanana, J., Rowe, N., Salmona, J., Seiler, M., Volampeno, S., Wright, P., Youssouf, J., Zaonarivelo, J. & Zaramody, A. (2014). "Propithecus edwardsi". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 2014-06-16. 
  3. ^ a b Dunham, A. E., Erhart, E., Overdorff, D. J. & Wright, P. C. (2008). "Evaluating the effects of deforestation, hunting and El Niño on a threatened lemur". Biological Conservation 141: 287–297. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2007.10.006. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Gron, K. J. (February 4, 2008). "Primate Factsheets: Diademed sifaka (Propithecus diadema) Taxonomy, Morphology, & Ecology". Retrieved June 15, 2009. 
  5. ^ a b Demes, B.; W. L. Jungers, J. G. Fleagle, R. E. Wunderlich, B. G. Richmond and P. Lemelin (October 2006). "Body size and leaping kinematics in Malagasy vertical clingers and leapers". Journal of Human Evolution (Academic Press) 31 (4): 367–388. doi:10.1006/jhev.1996.0066. Retrieved July 28, 2009. 
  6. ^ Soligo, C., Müller, A.E. (1999). "Nails and claws in primate evolution". Journal of Human Evolution 36 (1): 97–114. doi:10.1006/jhev.1998.0263. PMID 9924135. 
  7. ^ Tattersall, Ian (2006). "Origin of the Malagasy strepsirhine primates". In Gould, Lisa and Sauther, Michelle L. Lemurs: Ecology and Adaptation (Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects) (1st ed.). Springer. pp. 7–8. ISBN 0-387-34585-X. 
  8. ^ a b Gebo, Daniel L.; Marian Dagosto (February–April 1988). "Foot anatomy, climbing, and the origin of the Indriidae". Journal of Human Evolution (Elsevier Ltd.) 17 (1–2): 135–154. doi:10.1016/0047-2484(88)90052-8. Retrieved July 28, 2009. 
  9. ^ George Williams (2001). "Propithecus diadema edwardsi, Milne-Edward's Sifaka". Ranomafana National Park. Stony Brook University. Retrieved April 10, 2011. 
  10. ^ Crompton, R. H.; W. I. Sellers (2007). "Locomotion and predator avoidance in prosimian primates". In K. A. I. Nekaris & S. L. Gursky. Primate Anti-Predator Strategies. New York, New York: Springer. pp. 127–145. ISBN 978-0-387-34807-0. 
  11. ^ Mittermeier, R. A., Konstant, W. R., Hawkins, F., Louis, E. E., Langrand, O., Ratsimbazafy, J., Rasoloarison, R., Ganzhorn, J. U., Rajaobelina, S., Tattersall, I. (2006). Lemurs of Madagascar (2nd ed.). Washington DC: Conservation International. pp. 520 p. 
  12. ^ Wright, P. C. (1992). "Primate ecology, rainforest conservation, and economic development: building a national park in Madagascar". Evolutionary Anthropology 1 (1): 25–33. doi:10.1002/evan.1360010108. 
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Milne-Edwards' Sifaka

Milne-Edwards' Sifaka (Propithecus edwardsi) is a large arboreal, diurnal lemur endemic to the eastern coastal rainforest of Madagascar. Milne-Edwards' Sifaka is characterized by a black body with a light-colored "saddle" on the lower part of its back. It is closely related to the Diademed Sifaka, and was until recently considered a subspecies of it.[1] Like all sifakas, it is a primate in the family Indriidae.

Contents

Conservation status

Milne-Edwards' Sifaka is categorized as Endangered by the IUCN.[2] As of 2008 there were estimated to be approximately 28600 individuals left with only about 3500 of those remaining in protected areas.[3] It remains threatened by habitat loss, hunting and may be sensitive to a changing climate.[3]

Anatomy and physiology

A Milne-Edwards' Sifaka in Ranomafana National Park

The Milne-Edwards' Sifaka are the second largest species in Propithecus, and one of the larger diurnal lemur species overall. The average weight of a male Milne-Edwards' Sifaka is 5.90 kg (13.0 lb) and for females it is 6.30 kg (13.9 lb). The body length excluding the tail is 47.6 cm (18.7 in) for males and females measure 47.7 cm (18.8 in).[4] The tail is slightly shorter than the body, averaging 455 mm (17.9 in) in length or about 94% of the total head and body length.[5]

The Milne-Edwards' Sifaka has a typical Propithecus body shape with orange-red eyes and a short, black, bare face ringed by a puffy spray of dark brown to black fur. The majority of its coat is dark brown or black long silky fur, but on the center of the Sifaka's back and flanks is a brown to cream colored saddle shaped area which is divided in half by a line of dark fur along the spine. The shape and coloration of the saddle patch vary by individual. The Milne-Edwards' Sifaka exhibit neither sexual dimorphism nor sexual dichromatism. [4]

As with all lemurs, the Milne-Edwards' Sifaka has special adaptations for grooming, including a toilet-claw on its second toe, and a toothcomb.[6][7]

The hands and feet of the lemur have prehensile "thumbs" and big toes, which allow it to maintain a superb grip on trunks and branches. The pads of its fingers and toes are rough and have a large contact area. Its nails are also sharp and pointed, which allows them to dig in if it slips. The big toe of the Milne-Edwards' Sifaka and Indrids in general is longer and has a deeper cleft compared to that of lemurids. This is thought to reflect stronger grasping abilities.[8]

Locomotion

The arboreal lifestyle of P. edwardsi demands high coordination, a well developed grip, and considerable acrobatics. This lemur moves by vertical clinging and leaping, meaning it maintains an upright position leaping from tree trunk to tree trunk and moving along branches. It leaping between trees, the Milne-Edwards' Sifaka performs a 180 degree twist in midair so that it is facing the incoming landing target. Primarily movements of the arms but also those of the tail are used to adjust the body's rotation and stability on the fly. When landing, the Milne-Edwards' Sifaka swings its tail and outstretched forearms downward to help keep the body forward much like a long-jumper. It hands hind legs first. The tail and one arm is flung forward turing takeoff. [5]

Milne-Edwards' Sifakas can probably leap between 8 to 10 m (26 to 33 ft). The lemur rarely descends from the relative safety of the canopy, so spends little time on the ground. P. edwardsi will solely use trees to traverse its habitat, however if forced to cross open area like roads it will use a bipedal sideways hop.[9][10]

The Milne-Edwards' Sifaka can hang from its hind legs upside-down.[8]

The sifaka practices climbing and leaping in its infancy when it ventures from its mother's back. It is not uncommon for infant lemurs to fall, whereupon the mother quickly comes to the infant's assistance. Adult lemurs typically don't fall although they may occasionally lose their grip if the bark of the tree shears off from beneath their fingers. Lemurs may carry food while they travel in their hands, though they prefer to place the objects in their mouth.

Genus Propithecus Feet.jpg

Ecology

Geographic range and habitat

Milne-Edwards' Sifaka is endemic to the island of Madagascar off the southeastern coast of Africa. Milne-Edwards' Sifaka is found in primary and secondary rainforests on the southeastern part of the island at elevations between 600 and 1,600 m (2,000 and 5,200 ft). Milne-Edwards' Sifaka has the southern-most range of the diademed sifakas. The Mangoro and Onive Rivers border the northern part of its range and its southern range extends to Andringitra National Park and the Rienana River.[4][11]

Sympatric relations

The following lemur species can be found within the same geographic range as the Milne-Edwards' Sifaka:[4][12]

Behavior

The behavior and social organization of P. edwardsi is particularly well studied.[4] The Milne-Edwards' Sifaka is arboreal, diurnal, territorial, and group-forming. Females are dominant over males, typical of lemurs but extremely rare in all other primates.

Diet

The Milne-Edwards' Sifaka's diet is composed primarily of both mature and immature leaves and seeds, but they also regularly consume flowers and fruit. They also supplement their diet with soil and subterranean fungus. In the process of foraging, the Milne-Edwards' Sifakas range an average of 670 m (2,200 ft) per day. [4]

Social Organization

Milne-Edwards' Sifakas form multi-male/multi-female, multi-age groups of between 3 to 9 individuals with a mean group size of 4.8. [4] Depending on the number and gender of individuals, the group may be polygynandrous, polyandrous, polygynous, or monogamous. Shifts in the number of individuals or the ratio of males and females will effect the social structure. The groups provide protection from predators, while the size is limited by inter-group competition for seasonal feeding resources. Group dynamics are probably dictated by balancing the benefits and costs of predation protection, inter-group competition for food resources, and mating opportunities. About half of Milne-Edwards' Sifakas of the individuals of both sexes born in a particular group will emigrate; females leave as juveniles, while males can leave as both juveniles and adults. [4]

Reproduction

Milne-Edwards' Sifakas become sexually mature at 2 or 3 years or age. Milne-Edwards' Sifakas have one mating season annually during the austral summer in the months of December and January. Females give birth during the austral winter months of May and July after a 179 day gestation.[4]

Research

Most of the research on Propithecus edwardsi is conducted at Ranomafana National Park in Madagascar. Most of the lemurs are collared and the lead females carry a tracking device. Currently there are no captive lemurs of this species.

References

  1. ^ a b Groves, C. (2005). Wilson, D. E., & Reeder, D. M, eds. ed. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 120. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. OCLC 62265494. http://www.bucknell.edu/msw3/browse.asp?id=12100092. 
  2. ^ a b Andrainarivo C, Andriaholinirina VN, Feistner A, Felix T, Ganzhorn J, Garbutt N, Golden C, Konstant B, Louis Jr. E, Meyers D, Mittermeier RA, Perieras A, Princee F, Rabarivola JC, Rakotosamimanana B, Rasamimanana H, Ratsimbazafy J, Raveloarinoro G, Razafimanantsoa A, Rumpler Y, Schwitzer C, Thalmann U, Wilmé L & Wright P (2008). Propithecus edwardsi. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 2009-01-01.
  3. ^ a b Dunham, A. E., Erhart, E., Overdorff, D. J. & Wright, P. C. (2008). "Evaluating the effects of deforestation, hunting and El Nino on a threatened lemur". Biological Conservation 141: 287–297. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2007.10.006. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Gron KJ (2008-02-04). "Primate Factsheets: Diademed sifaka (Propithecus diadema) Taxonomy, Morphology, & Ecology". http://pin.primate.wisc.edu/factsheets/entry/diademed_sifaka. Retrieved 2009-06-15. 
  5. ^ a b Demes, B.; W. L. Jungers, J. G. Fleagle, R. E. Wunderlich, B. G. Richmond and P. Lemelin (October, 2006). [linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0047248496900664 "Body size and leaping kinematics in Malagasy vertical clingers and leapers"]. Journal of Human Evolution (Academic Press Limited) 31 (4): 367–388. doi:10.1016/j.physletb.2003.10.071. linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0047248496900664. Retrieved July 28, 2009. 
  6. ^ Soligo, C., Müller, A.E. (1999). "Nails and claws in primate evolution". Journal of Human Evolution 36 (1): 97–114. doi:10.1006/jhev.1998.0263. PMID 9924135. 
  7. ^ Tattersall, Ian (2006). Gould, Lisa and Sauther, Michelle L.. ed. Lemurs: Ecology and Adaptation (Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects) (1 ed.). Springer. p. 7–8. ISBN 038734585X. 
  8. ^ a b Gebo, Daniel L.; Marian Dagosto (February-April 1988). "Foot anatomy, climbing, and the origin of the Indriidae". Journal of Human Evolution (Elsevier Ltd.) 17 (1-2): 135–154. doi:10.1016/0047-2484(88)90052-8. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6WJS-4F1J80W-4K&_user=38557&_origUdi=B6WJS-45MGY2N-B&_fmt=high&_coverDate=04%2F30%2F1988&_rdoc=1&_orig=article&_acct=C000004358&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=38557&md5=7d4af05d8812e983250720d3fead7abe. Retrieved July 28, 2009. 
  9. ^ Propithecus diadema edwardsi
  10. ^ CROMPTON, R. H.; W. I. SELLERS (2007). [ttp://www.animalsimulation.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=19:locomotion-and-predator-avoidance-in-prosimian-primates&catid=11:published-work&Itemid=9 Primate Anti-Predator Strategies (ed. K. A. I. Nekaris & S. L. Gursky), Chapter title: Locomotion and Predator Avoidance in Prosimian Primates]. New York, New York: Springer. pp. 127–145. ISBN 978-0-387-34807-0. ttp://www.animalsimulation.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=19:locomotion-and-predator-avoidance-in-prosimian-primates&catid=11:published-work&Itemid=9. 
  11. ^ Mittermeier RA, Konstant WR, Hawkins F, Louis EE, Langrand O, Ratsimbazafy J, Rasoloarison R, Ganzhorn JU, Rajaobelina S, Tattersall I (2006). Lemurs of Madagascar (second ed.). Washington DC: Conservation International. pp. 520 p. 
  12. ^ Wright PC (1992). "Primate ecology, rainforest conservation, and economic development: building a national park in Madagascar". Evolutionary Anthropology 1 (1): 25–33. doi:10.1002/evan.1360010108. 
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