It is believed that only one female from each group breeds, while males may move from group to group. [9] The sifaka usually avoids these attacks with its agile acrobatics through the trees high above the ground. The sifaka is endemic to Madagascar, and certain species only live in one tiny part of the island. Local Malagasy people named them for the unique call they send echoing through Madagascar's forests, which sounds like shif-auk. [8], Predators of the sifaka include the fossa, a puma-like mammal native to Madagascar, and aerial hunters such as hawks. All species of sifakas are threatened, ranging from vulnerable to critically endangered. Coquerel’s sifaka (Propithecus coquereli) are delicate leaf-eaters from the dry northwestern forests of Madagascar. Some species of lemurs are threatened with extinction, and researchers at Duke University's Lemur Center are working to prevent that from happening. Sifakas live in family groups of three to ten individuals and travel together about a half-mile per day. These areas get less than 14 inches of rain per year in the driest areas. In this way, they clear distances of over 30 feet. They are skillful climbers and powerful jumpers, able to make leaps up to 10 m (32.8 ft) from one tree to the next. All sifakas are threatened by the destruction of their forest habitats. Although food is scarce, these primates manage to use their nimble snouts to pick leaves from between the spines of octopus trees and other dry weather plants. It is native to northwest Madagascar. © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society, © 2015- Young are weaned after about six months and reach full maturity at the age of two to three years. They can also move quickly on the ground, which they do using a two-legged sideways hop. [5], Sifakas are medium-sized indrids with a head and body length of 40 to 55 cm (16 to 22 in) and a weight of 3 to 6 kg (6.6 to 13.2 lb). They may have different colored limbs and bodies, and often their heads are multicolored with patches of black, white, gray, or golden-colored fur. However, they have been known to attack by biting and scratching and have even been witnessed fighting off a Madagascar ground boa. Sifakas are beautifully colored. Their fur is long and silky, with coloration varying by species from yellowish-white to blackish-brown. Like all lemurs, they are found only on the island of Madagascar. The Verreaux's sifaka lives in the spiny forest and dry forests in the south. Sifakas live in larger groups than the other indrids (up to 13 animals). Sifakas eat about a hundred different varieties of plants and spend their days searching for food. These vegetarian primates eat leaves, flowers, fruit, buds, and tree bark—sifakas have been known to eat about a hundred different plants. 2020 National Geographic Partners, LLC. Vegetarian and active during the day, sifakas live in small family groups; females are dominant to males. The natural range of these animals covers a tiny area of the island, extending from Marojejy southwards to Makira and the Antainambalana River. On the ground, they move like all indrids, with bipedal, sideways hopping movements of the hind legs, holding their fore limbs up for balance. The sifaka of Madagascar are distinguished from other lemurs by their mode of locomotion: these animals maintain a distinctly vertical posture and … Troop members communicate over big distances through long, deep calls. Their tail is just as long as their body, which differentiates them from the Indri. WATCH: Could Vaccines Help Save Endangered Lemurs? However, the limits of their range are unknown. These primates spend most of their time in the trees, but don't get around in the same way that other lemurs do. [4] Like all lemurs, they are found only on the island of Madagascar. They forage during daylight hours and go to sleep aloft before sunset. [citation needed], Sifakas move by vertical clinging and leaping, meaning they maintain an upright position leaping from tree trunk to tree trunk and moving along branches. Coquerel's sifaka (Propithecus coquereli) is a diurnal, medium-sized lemur of the sifaka genus Propithecus. These lemurs inhabit a wide variety of habitats, from tropical dry lowland forests to montane forests. Sifakas live in small family groups of three to ten animals. Though they defend their territory from invasion by others of their species, they may peacefully co-exist with other lemur species such as the red-bellied lemur and the common brown lemur. As with all lemurs, the sifaka has special adaptations for grooming, including a toilet-claw on its second toe and a toothcomb. Some species are hunted for meat, though others are protected by Malagasy tradition that forbids eating their flesh. The name of their family is an onomatopoeia of their characteristic "shi-fak" alarm call. [6] Sifakas are diurnal and arboreal. The Silky sifakas are endemic to Madagascar. Sifakas are lemurs. A sifaka (/sɪˈfɑːkə/; Malagasy pronunciation: [ˈsifakə̥] (listen)) is a lemur of the genus Propithecus from the family Indriidae within the order Primates. Sifakas remain upright, and they leap quickly from tree to tree by jumping with their powerful hind legs. The life expectancy of the sifakas is up to 20 years. Edges of different sifaka territories can overlap. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/group/sifakas.html. [7], Sifakas are herbivores, eating leaves, flowers, and fruits. [10], A four- to five-month gestation period ends with the birth of a single offspring in July. Coquerel's sifaka was once considered to be a subspecies of Verreaux's sifaka, but was eventually granted full species level, and is listed as endangered due to habitat loss and hunting. They have a firm territory, which they mark with scent glands. Sifakas live in small family groups of three to ten animals. One young, usually, is born after about five months’ gestation. The young holds fast to the mother's belly when small, but then later is carried on her back. The silky sifaka has a variable social structure, and lives in groups of two to nine individuals. Females occasionally take priority over males during feeding. Sifakas are medium-sized indrids with a head and body length of 40 to 55 cm (16 to 22 in) and a weight of 3 to 6 kg (6.6 to 13.2 lb). Their round, hairless face is always black. All rights reserved. Verreaux's sifakas are native and endemic exclusively to Madagascar, where they occur in the south-western part of the island, from Tsiribihina River in central western Madagascar southwards to the Andohahela region. These lemurs are generally found in montane and mid-altitude rainforest habitat. They use scents to mark their territory, but home ranges often overlap. All species of sifakas are threatened, ranging from vulnerable to critically endangered. It is believed that only one female from each group breeds, while males may move from group to group. Successful invasions are known to result in death of male members, group takeover, and infanticide. It spends most of its day feeding and resting, though it also devotes a considerable amount of time to social behaviors, such as playing and grooming, as well as travelling. When not searching for food, they spend a good part of the day sunbathing, stretched on the branches. Sifakas cling vertically to upright stems and tree trunks and sit in forked tree branches; they move by springing as far as 9–10 m (30–33 feet) from tree to tree. [11], International Union for Conservation of Nature, "Mammals – full taxonomy and Red List status", "Birth season glucocorticoids are related to the presence of infants in sifaka (, "Descriptions and articles about the Coquerel's Sifaka (Propithecus coquereli) - Encyclopedia of Life", "Bring it on: Sifaka lemurs take down a three-metre boa in Madagascar | predator-vs-prey | Earth Touch News", "Craniodental characters in the taxonomy of, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Sifaka&oldid=987481904, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles with unsourced statements from May 2010, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 7 November 2020, at 09:57.

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