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The Sunda Flying Lemur, or Sunda colugo, is not a lemur and doesn't fly! Rather, it glides using a membrane attached to its body. It is one of just two extant species of colugos, which make up the entire family Cynocephalidae and order Dermoptera. A recent study has found that there remains only about 1000 individuals across Singapore's protected forests.
Primary forest (Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, one of the largest patches of primary rainforest left in Singapore). Pin moved away from exact location.
The Dermoptera, along with the Scandentia (tree shrews), are the closest living relatives of the Primates. The membrane of colugos extends along the limbs to the tips of the fingers, toes, and tail, and is more extensive than in other gliding mammals, whose gliding surface is only stretched between the limbs, with fingers, toes, and tail left free. Here the membrane is quite visible on the second shot. Colugos are completely arboreal and nearly helpless on the ground, and are able to travel over 100 meters in a single glide. This one didn't glide for us unfortunately. They are generally nocturnal and feed on leaves, buds, flowers, and fruit. At day time they cling to trees and don't do much, as seen on this series of pictures. Thank you fellow Project Noah ranger Craig Williams for providing me with info as to the whereabouts of colugos at Bukit Timah on that day. Apologies for the poor quality of pictures; the animal is high in the trees in dark forest, away from the tracks. Lim, N.T. (2004). Autecology and a preliminary population census of the Malayan flying lemur Cynocephalus variegatus in Singapore. BSc. Final Year Project. National University of Singapor, Singapore.
Spotted on Apr 10, 2014
Submitted on Jun 29, 2014
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