Know Your Primate: Diademed Sifaka

Order: Primates
Infraorder: Lemuriformes
Family: Indriidae
Subfamily: Indriinae
Genus: Propithecus
Species: Propithecus diadema
Common Name: Diademed Sifaka
The Indriinae are composed of eight genera, of which four are extinct. The genus Propithecus contains three species, with Propithecus diadema being the larger. Currently, Propithecus diadema is divided into four subspecies: Propithecus diadema diadema, Propithecus diadema edwardsi, Propithecus diadema candidus, and Propithecus diadema perrieri distinguished mainly on the basis of pelage.

Diademed Sifaka live in rain forests on the eastern side of Madagascar. They are vertical clingers and leapers and have long legs and tails. They live in moderate sized groups of from 3-9 individuals. The males regularly change groups and, consequently, there is a lot of male-male competition with actual mating being based on position in a dominance hierarchy. They feed mainly on leaves, flowers, fruits, and young shoots.
As always, here is a picture of the skull:

8 Responses

  1. Beautiful animals. But the second picture is completely baffling. What is going on there?

  2. Are you thinking of the rain or the child on (I suppose) the back of a somewhat hidden mother?

  3. The picture *was* rather odd, though I was pretty easily able to figure out that it was a mama sifaka with her furry little sifaka child!
    Anne G

  4. The picture was pretty bad and I played around with it for awhile. I was actually hoping it would look better on monitors other than my own. At any rate Torbjorn’s (sorry, I haven’t figured out how to make the marks above the second “o” in your name) analysis of the picture is correct.

  5. What’s the range of motion in the shoulders? Is it typical of the family? The sub-family?

  6. Off the top of my head I do not know. I would suspect that they have a pretty flexible shoulders in that they adopt a wide variety of feeding postures, including upside down.

  7. In (x)html, an ö can be me made with the chars ‘ö’ . See
    Unfortunately, the scienceblogs software has a serious bug in the
    preview, which makes use of such characters unnecessarily error
    prone. Specifically, after you click preview, the input box will not
    contain the text you originally typed; any html code you have used for
    a special character will have been ‘helpfully’ replaced by the actual
    special character. This is entirely bad behavior, because in most
    cases, a literal occurrence of the special character is either not
    valid html, or, like less-than and ampersand, is used to indicate html
    code for special purposes.

    As a result, if you use preview, it is necessary to ‘fix’ any letters with diacritical marks, or special characters.

  8. Sorry about the delay.

    Torbjorn’s (sorry, I haven’t figured out how to make the marks above the second “o” in your name)

    That spelling is readable. (English speakers is quite unfamiliar with the correct “oe” sound, so it is also usually the best phonemic equivalent.)

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