The Perrier's sifaka according to MammalMAP
With an EDGE score (Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered scores combined) of 5.31, the peculiar Perrier’s sifaka (Propithecus perrieri) is considered one of the 25 most endangered primates in the world.
Perrier’s sifakas are endemic to Madagascar and can be found in the northeastern parts, mainly on the Analamerana Special Reserve and some forest fragments to the west.
The thick, silky coat of Perrier’s sifaka is black, covering its entire body except for the face and ears. Females are slightly larger than males, and weight ranges between 3.7 to 6 kilograms.
During the dry season Perrier’s sifakas mainly eat leaves and flowers, but during the wet season they feed more on fruits and seeds.
Unlike most other species, Perrier’s sifakas have groups of unbiased sex dispersal of between 2 and 6 individuals, although societies seems to be mainly matriarchal, with females having feeding priority.
Perrier’s sifakas communicate using vocalisations, which includes warning calls who some describe as a sneeze-like sound. Grooming has also been observed.
The Perrier’s sifaka is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List and numbers continue to decline. The number of mature adults is estimated to be less than 250 individuals – since 1985 an estimated third of the rainforest has disappeared. The decline in numbers is mainly due to habitat destruction. Hunting and predation from fossa may also have a negative impact on lemur population.
Perrier's sifakas are native to and only found on the island of Madagascar. They can be found in the northeastern and northern parts of Madagascar.
Biogeographic Regions: ethiopian (Native )
Other Geographic Terms: island endemic
Perrier's sifakas have minimal sexual dimorphism, with females slightly larger (average of 4.44 kg) than males (average of 4.22 kg). The average body length is 48.9 cm. They have longer legs and tails than their torso and arms. They have coats of dense, silky, black fur except on their faces and ears which have no fur. Their eyes are small and face forward.
Range mass: 3.7 to 6.0 kg.
Average mass: 4.3 kg.
Average length: 48.9 cm.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry
Sexual Dimorphism: female larger
Madagascar Dry Deciduous Forests Habitat
Boophis goudotii is found in the Madagascar dry deciduous forests ecoregion among other ecoregions in Madagascar. This ecoregion in western Madagascar represents some of the world’s most species rich and most distinctive tropical dry forests. They are characterized by very high local plant and animal endemism at the species, genera and family levels.This ecoregion also contains spectacular limestone karst formations, known as tsingy.
The climate of the Madagascar dry deciduous forests is tropical, with temperatures ranging from a mean maximum of 30° to 33°C and a mean minimum of 8° to 21°C. There is a wet and a dry season, with most of the rainfall from October to April. Precipitation declines from an annual average of around 1500 millimetres (mm) in the north to about 1000 mm in the south of the region.
The geology of the ecoregion is varied, being rather complex in some zones, and includes ancient Precambrian basement rocks, unconsolidated sands, and Tertiary and Mesozoic limestone. While most of the forest on the Tertiary limestone has been destroyed, the spectacular karsts of the Mesozoic limestone and the associated forest patches are more or less intact. The ecoregion is a mosaic of dry deciduous forest, degraded secondary forests and grasslands.
Some of the distinctive plants in the forests include the flamboyant tree, Delonix regia (family Leguminosae), and several species of baobabs (Adansonia, family Bombacaceae), including the Near Threatened Fony baobab (A. rubrostipa) and the Endangered Suarez baobab (A. suarezensis).
Endemic mammal species to the ecoregion include the Golden-crowned sifaka (Propithecus tattersalli), Mongoose lemur (Eulemur mongoz), Lowland western forest rat (Nesomys lambertoni), Golden-brown mouse lemur (Microcebus ravelobensis), Northern rufous mouse lemur (M. tavaratra), Western rufous mouse lemur (M. myoxinus), Perrier's sifaka (Propithecus diadema perrieri), Milne-Edwards’s sportive lemur (Lepilemur edwardsi), and the Endangered big-footed mouse (Macrotarsomys ingens). Lemur species, particularly the Brown lemur (Eulemur fulvus), may be critical to the regeneration of the forests because they are some of the few and potentially most important seed dispersers in this diverse forest. The dry deciduous forests are one of the primary habitats for the island’s largest predator, the Fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox), and some of the smaller endemic Carnivora.
The rivers and lakes of the Madagascar dry deciduous forests ecoregion are critically important habitats for the endemic and endangered Madagascar sideneck turtle (Erymnochelys madagascariensis). This species represents a significant "Gondwanaland relic", since its closest relatives are in the Podocnemis genus of in South America. The scrubland and bamboo forests of the ecoregion are the habitat of one of the most endangered reptiles in the world, the ploughshare tortoise (Geochelone yniphora). Other critical endemic reptiles of the ecoregion include the chameleons Brookesia bonsi and B. decaryi. At least three chameleon species are endemic to this ecoregion, including Furcifer tuzetae, F. rhinoceratus, and F. angeli. The dwarf chameleons Brookesia exarmata and B. perarmata are endemic to the Tsingy of Bemaraha. The colorful arboreal snake Lycodryas (Stenophis) citrinus is only recorded from Tsingy de Bemaraha and Namoroka region. Several geckos are endemic to this ecoregion including Paroedura maingoka, P. vazimba, P. tanjaka, Uroplatus geuntheri, and Lygodactylus klemmeri; the latter is only known from the Tsingy de Bemaraha. Futher, the region also holds several endemic skinks species including Mabuya tandrefana, Pygomeles braconnieri, and Androngo elongatus. Recently new species of plated lizard were described from the ecoregion – Zonosaurus bemaraha in the southern portion and Z. tsingy in the northern portion.
Notable amphibians in the ecoregion include the Near Threatened Ambohimitombo bright-eyed frog (Boophis majori); the Antsouhy tomato frog (Dyscophus insularis); the Betsileo golden frog (Mantella betsileo); Betsileo Madagascar frog (Mantidactylus betsileanus); the Betsileo reed frog (Heterixalus betsileo); the Central Madagascar frog (Mantidactylus opiparis); Forest Bright-eyed frog (Boophis erythrodactylus), who typically breeds in wide forest streams; Goudot's Bright-eyed frog (Boophis goudotii); Madagascar bullfrog (Laliostoma labrosum), a Madagascar endemic that is fossorial outside its breeding season; and the Marbled rainfrog (Scaphiophryne marmorata), who breeds in shallow temporary pools.
The ecoregion contains important habitats for 131 of the 186 resident terrestrial bird species listed for Madagascar. Several of these species are associated with lakes and rivers of the region, such as the Manambolo, Betsiboka, Mahajamba, and their satellite lakes. These species include Bernier’s teal (Anas bernieri), Madagascar fish eagle (Haliaeetus vociferoides), Humblot’s heron (Ardea humbloti) and the Sakalava rail (Amaurornis olivieri). These birds are dependent on wetlands and they are becoming increasingly isolated and restricted due to habitat fragmentation and conversion to rice paddy. Some of these species also use the fringes of the mangroves on the western coast of Madagascar. Several bird species are confined to the western forests, have limited or disjunct ranges, in some cases associated with habitat fragmentation including Van Dam’s vanga (Xenopirostris damii), and White-breasted mesite (Mesitornis variegata).
- C.MIchael Hogan & World Wildlife Fund. 2015. Madagascar dry deciduous forests. Encyclopedia of Earth. National Council for Science and Environment. Washington DC
- Lowry, P.P. II, G.E. Schatz, and P.B. Phillipson. 1997. The classification of natural and anthropogenic vegetation in Madagascar. pp. 93-123 in: S.M. Goodman and B. D.Patterson (eds.). Natural Change and Human Impact in Madagascar. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. ISBN: 1560986832
Perrier's sifakas are eastern Madagascar lemurs. They are found in dry and riparian forests that border rivers in northern Madagascar. The elevation range is 10 to 600 meters with most being found at about 500 meters. The forests that border the rivers are riparian. The canopy is continuous and the understory is open. The riparian forest gives way to dry forests. Dry forests have a low and open canopy with a variety of vines in the understory. Perrier's sifakas will travel over savannahs to go from one forest area to another. Annual rainfall is 125.0 cm with most of it falling between November and April.
Range elevation: 10 to 600 m.
Average elevation: 500 m.
Habitat Regions: tropical ; terrestrial
Terrestrial Biomes: forest ; rainforest
Other Habitat Features: riparian
Habitat and Ecology
Perrier's sifakas are primarily folivorous, but they are also include fruit in their diet. They consume a wide variety of plants, leaves, seeds, and flowers. An average of 50% of their diet consists of leaves. These leaves come from a range of plants including Somotrorama species, Pittosporum orchrosiifolium, Sideroxylon species, Diospyros species, Olax species, and Dalbergia species. Their diet consists of 27% flowers of the plants Magifera indica, Sideroxylon, Vonga-vonga, Dalbergia, and Famoha. Fruit makes up about 17% of their diet and comes from the plants Tamarindus indica and Ficus pachyclada. Buds, petioles, and seeds finish off the remainder of their diets. This small portion of their food can come from the plants Scerocaryan and Landolphia. Rarely, but sometimes, they eat dirt.
Plant Foods: leaves; seeds, grains, and nuts; fruit; flowers
Primary Diet: herbivore (Folivore , Frugivore )
Perrier's sifakas may influence vegetation communities through their folivory and may disperse seeds when they eat fruits.
The principal natural predators of Perrier's sifakas are fossas (Cryptoprocta ferox), which can travel on land and from tree to tree. Other possible predators include eagles and hawks. Raptors are mainly a danger to young. Humans also prey on sifakas. These sifakas use vocalizations to warn of possible danger.
- fossas (Cryptoprocta ferox)
- raptors (Falconiformes)
- humans (Homo sapiens)
Life History and Behavior
Perrier's sifakas use vocalizations as a form of communication, including warning calls. Gron (2008) describes the sounds as sneeze like. Alloparenting and grooming are common forms of bonding. They use visual cues, such as genital swelling, to communicate sexual readiness. They are also likely to use chemical cues, as do other mammals.
Communication Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical
Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical
There are no known Propithecus perrieri in captivity. The longest living Propithecus species in captivity was 36 years old. The closely related, diademed sifakas have the greatest risk of death before the age of 5. After the age of 5 an individual can be expected to live to about 15.
Status: wild: 15 years.
Perrier's sifaka mating habits have not been studied. In their close relative, Propithecus diadema, several different mating systems occur. Depending on group size, mating systems can be monogamous, polyandrous, polgynous, or polygnandrous.
Reproductive behavior of Propithecus perrieri has not been well-studied. Perrier's sifakas were once considered a subspecies of Propithecus diadema, diademed sifakas, which has been studied more thoroughly. In diademed sifakas, multiple mating strategies are present and they can change from season to season depending on group size and structure. Females are in estrus for a short period of time, about 10 hours. Both males and females show genital swelling at times of fertility. Females become sexually mature at about 4 years old and males at 5. Mating occurs in the summer and the birth of one offspring per female occurs 5 to 6 months later, typically in the austral winter month of June. Infanticide by both males and females has been observed in some groups of diademed sifakas. This can be attributed to the arrival of new males in the group and females having a short estrus time and long gestation period.
Breeding interval: Breeding interval is not known in Perrier's sifakas, but diademed sifakas breed about every year and a half.
Breeding season: In diademed sifakas, matings occur in the summer, December and January.
Average number of offspring: 4.36.
Range gestation period: 5 to 6 months.
Average gestation period: 6 months.
Average weaning age: 5 months.
Average time to independence: 2 years.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 4 years.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 5 years.
Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; viviparous
There are no published reports of parental investment in Proptihecus perrieri. In the close relative, Propithecus diadema, mothers are the primary caregivers of their offspring. Very little alloparenting takes places in diademed sifaka groups. During the first weeks after birth the baby clings to the belly of its mother. At 3 to 4 weeks, offspring show more independence. There is contact with others in the group, play is often limited to other juveniles, but grooming is done by all. Around this time the baby will ride on the mother's back instead of the belly. Though the offspring are weaned around 5 months they stay under the mothers watch until about 2 years of age.
Parental Investment: altricial ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-independence (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); post-independence association with parents; extended period of juvenile learning
Perrier's sifakas are considered critically endangered by the IUCN. All Propithecus species are considered endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Human destruction of the habitats of Propithecus perrieri represents their biggest threat to survival. Humans use slash-and-burn agriculture, logging, mine for gemstones, and hunt these sifakas. Another natural cause of sifaka death and destruction of habitat are wildfires.
US Federal List: endangered
CITES: no special status
State of Michigan List: no special status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: critically endangered
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
This species has a very small remaining total population of about 500 individuals. The number of mature individuals is about 125 and is ontinuing to decline. There is a restricted population structure with 90-100% of all mature individuals being in one subpopulation. The species is threatened mainly by habitat destruction through slash-and-burn agriculture, but also by hunting. Based on these premises, the species is listed as Critically Endangered.
- 2000Critically Endangered
- 1996Critically Endangered
- 1990Endangered(IUCN 1990)
This is one of the rarest and most endangered lemurs (and indeed of all the world's primates). The total population is less than 500 individuals, and the effective breeding population is only approximately 125 individuals.
Mathew Banks and James Herrera (pers. comm. 2013) estimate the following population densities at the following sites: Ambatovazaha - 45.73 individulas/km2; Ampasimaty - 3.54 individulas/km2; Ampondrabe - 1.48 individulas/km2; Andampibe - 34.85 individulas/km2; Andrafiambany - 7.91 individulas/km2; Madiromasina - 5.06 individulas/km2; Mahanoro - 6.5 individulas/km2; Antsahabe – 0 individulas/km2. The overall mean of densities estimated at each site separately is 8.78 individulas/km2 (these results were generated from using a global detection probability, estimated from all the data within the truncation distance, not for each site separately).Notably, population densities of Sifakas on sandstone soil are more than twice the population density found on limestone soils.
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
There are no known adverse effects of Perrier's sifakas on humans.
Perrier's sifakas are important members of native ecosystems in Madagascar.
Perrier's sifaka (Propithecus perrieri) is a sifaka endemic to Madagascar. It was once formerly a subspecies of diademed sifaka and is considered one of the 25 most endangered primates in the world.
It has a length of 85 to 92 centimeters, of which 42-46 centimeters are tail. Its pelage is almost entirely black 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.
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. 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. Its presence in the Ankarana National Park has been reported a few decades ago but could unfortunately not be confirmed in the last decade.
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. Groups of sifaka do not show any aggression towards other groups when feeding, let alone come into contact with each other. 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.
Perrier's sifakas use vocalizations to communicate including warning calls and have even been observed to make a sound described as sneezing.
Sifakas have groups between 2 and 6 individuals. 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. Mating habits have not been thoroughly studied yet.
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. Infants become dependent at the age of 2 and reach sexual maturity at the age of 4 for females and at the age of 5 for males. Males use genital swelling to communicate that they are ready for sex.
Perrier's sifaka is one of the most endangered primates due to the limited distribution and low population density. 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. 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 protected area.
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- Groves, C. P. (2005). Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M, eds. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. OCLC 62265494. ISBN 0-801-88221-4.
- Christoph Schwitzer, Olivier Arnoult, Berthe Rakotosamimanana. "An international conservation and research programme for Perrier’s sifaka (Propithecus perrieri Lavauden, 1931) in northern Madagascar". Lemur News Vol. 11, 2006. Lemur News. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
- Mittmeier, R. et al. (2005) "Primates in Peril: The World's 25 Most Endangered Primates 2004-2006"
- Garbutt, Nick (2007). Mammals of Madagascar, A Complete Guide. pp. 189–191.
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- 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". Retrieved 3 April 2014.
- Irwin, Mitchell. "Ecologically Enigmatic Lemurs: The Sifakas of the Eastern Forests (Propithecus candidus, P. diadema, P. edwardsi, P. perrieri, and P. tattersalli)". Retrieved 24 July 2012.
- Shawn Lehman, Mireya Mayor. "Dietary Patterns in Perrier’s Sifakas (Propithecus diadema perrieri): A Preliminary Study". Retrieved 24 July 2012.
- Banks MA, Ellis ER, Wright PC (2007) Global population size of a critically endangered lemur, Perrier’s sifaka. Animal Conservation 10:254–262
- 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
- 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". Retrieved 3 April 2014.
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