They may have different colored limbs and bodies, and often their heads are multicolored with patches of black, white, gray, or golden-colored fur. The Verreaux's sifaka lives in the spiny forest and dry forests in the south. [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. These primates spend most of their time in the trees, but don't get around in the same way that other lemurs do. Sifakas are lemurs. One young, usually, is born after about five months’ gestation. However, the limits of their range are unknown. All sifakas are threatened by the destruction of their forest habitats. 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). These lemurs inhabit a wide variety of habitats, from tropical dry lowland forests to montane forests. Females occasionally take priority over males during feeding. Young are weaned after about six months and reach full maturity at the age of two to three years. As with all lemurs, the sifaka has special adaptations for grooming, including a toilet-claw on its second toe and a toothcomb. All rights reserved. [10], A four- to five-month gestation period ends with the birth of a single offspring in July. 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. © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society, © 2015- Sifakas live in small family groups of three to ten animals. [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 have a firm territory, which they mark with scent glands. Sifakas live in family groups of three to ten individuals and travel together about a half-mile per day. The Silky sifakas are endemic to Madagascar. These lemurs are generally found in montane and mid-altitude rainforest habitat. Local Malagasy people named them for the unique call they send echoing through Madagascar's forests, which sounds like shif-auk. A sifaka (/sɪˈfɑːkə/; Malagasy pronunciation: [ˈsifakə̥] (listen)) is a lemur of the genus Propithecus from the family Indriidae within the order Primates. They forage during daylight hours and go to sleep aloft before sunset. Their round, hairless face is always black. Sifakas eat about a hundred different varieties of plants and spend their days searching for food. Sifakas live in larger groups than the other indrids (up to 13 animals). They can also move quickly on the ground, which they do using a two-legged sideways hop. They are skillful climbers and powerful jumpers, able to make leaps up to 10 m (32.8 ft) from one tree to the next. Vegetarian and active during the day, sifakas live in small family groups; females are dominant to males. These vegetarian primates eat leaves, flowers, fruit, buds, and tree bark—sifakas have been known to eat about a hundred different plants. Coquerel’s sifaka (Propithecus coquereli) are delicate leaf-eaters from the dry northwestern forests of Madagascar. Edges of different sifaka territories can overlap. Some species of lemurs are threatened with extinction, and researchers at Duke University's Lemur Center are working to prevent that from happening. The natural range of these animals covers a tiny area of the island, extending from Marojejy southwards to Makira and the Antainambalana River. Sifakas are beautifully colored. The silky sifaka has a variable social structure, and lives in groups of two to nine individuals. 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. WATCH: Could Vaccines Help Save Endangered Lemurs? Coquerel's sifaka (Propithecus coquereli) is a diurnal, medium-sized lemur of the sifaka genus Propithecus. Their fur is long and silky, with coloration varying by species from yellowish-white to blackish-brown. [4] Like all lemurs, they are found only on the island of Madagascar. The sifaka of Madagascar are distinguished from other lemurs by their mode of locomotion: these animals maintain a distinctly vertical posture and … Like all lemurs, they are found only on the island of Madagascar. On the ground, they move like all indrids, with bipedal, sideways hopping movements of the hind legs, holding their fore limbs up for balance. 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. Successful invasions are known to result in death of male members, group takeover, and infanticide. [9] The sifaka usually avoids these attacks with its agile acrobatics through the trees high above the ground. Sifakas remain upright, and they leap quickly from tree to tree by jumping with their powerful hind legs. All species of sifakas are threatened, ranging from vulnerable to critically endangered. These areas get less than 14 inches of rain per year in the driest areas. [7], Sifakas are herbivores, eating leaves, flowers, and fruits. They use scents to mark their territory, but home ranges often overlap. It is native to northwest Madagascar. 2020 National Geographic Partners, LLC. In this way, they clear distances of over 30 feet. [8], Predators of the sifaka include the fossa, a puma-like mammal native to Madagascar, and aerial hunters such as hawks. Some species are hunted for meat, though others are protected by Malagasy tradition that forbids eating their flesh. [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,, 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. The life expectancy of the sifakas is up to 20 years. It is believed that only one female from each group breeds, while males may move from group to group. 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.