Behavior

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Milne-Edward's sifakas use different sounds to communicate. “Moos” are used to inform others of group’s location. Warning calls include a sudden “zusss” sound to warn of enemies on the ground and barking, which warns of aerial threats. When they are lost, individuals whistle to let their group know where to find them. Allogroooming is a form of tactile communication and it is likely that other forms of touch and body language are used among individuals. Scent marking by males is a form of sexual communication.

Communication Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

Other Communication Modes: scent marks

Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

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Negron, L. and R. Weber 2009. "Propithecus edwardsi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Propithecus_edwardsi.html
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Lorraine Negron, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Robin Weber, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Conservation Status

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Milne-Edward's sifakas are endangered primarily because of habitat loss. Over the past thirty years the total wild population has decreased by more than 50%. It is predicted that the population will experience another 50% decrease over the next three years. Loss of habitat is due to logging, gold mining, and illegal rum production. Other human impacts include hunting, mostly in the northern part of their habitat. Hunting and deforestation are considered the most serious threats to Propithecus edwardsi populations. In an effort to help conserve the species there are a few national parks set aside in their range. There are reports of them living in some forests outside of these parks. There are no known captive populations.

US Federal List: endangered

CITES: appendix i

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: endangered

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Negron, L. and R. Weber 2009. "Propithecus edwardsi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Propithecus_edwardsi.html
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Lorraine Negron, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Benefits

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Milne-Edward's sifakas have no recorded negative impacts on humans.

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Negron, L. and R. Weber 2009. "Propithecus edwardsi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Propithecus_edwardsi.html
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Lorraine Negron, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Robin Weber, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Benefits

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Milne-Edward's sifakas are sometimes hunted for food, but hunting is restricted due to difficulty acquiring guns. They also create a need for selective logging so that the remaining forest has the characteristics necessary to support populations of Milne-Edward's sifakas. They are an important and charismatic member of native Malagasy forests.

Positive Impacts: food ; ecotourism ; research and education

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Negron, L. and R. Weber 2009. "Propithecus edwardsi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Propithecus_edwardsi.html
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Lorraine Negron, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Associations

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Milne-Edward's sifakas eat fruit which helps to disperse the seeds of the trees they forage in. They also help to create awareness of endangered endemic species and generate support for forest conservation in Madagascar.

Ecosystem Impact: disperses seeds

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Negron, L. and R. Weber 2009. "Propithecus edwardsi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Propithecus_edwardsi.html
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Lorraine Negron, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Robin Weber, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Trophic Strategy

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Milne-Edward's sifakas are mainly frugivores, but they also eat leaves, seeds, and flowers. They eat a wide variety of plants on a daily basis and throughout the year, with their diet varying with seasonal availability of foods.

Plant Foods: leaves; wood, bark, or stems; seeds, grains, and nuts; fruit; flowers

Primary Diet: herbivore (Frugivore )

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Negron, L. and R. Weber 2009. "Propithecus edwardsi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Propithecus_edwardsi.html
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Lorraine Negron, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Distribution

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Propithecus edwardsi is found only on the island of Madagascar which lies off the southwest coast of Africa. They are only found in a small area of southeastern Madagascar from the Mangoro and Onvine rivers in the north to the Rienana River in the south, within the Andringitra National Park. Formerly they probably occurred as far south as the Manampatrana River. A clinal gradient seems to be expressed between Propithecus edwardsi and Propithecus diadema due to a change in environments. They are both found in the same area but P. diadema is found on more inland mountain ranges.

Biogeographic Regions: ethiopian (Native )

Other Geographic Terms: island endemic

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Negron, L. and R. Weber 2009. "Propithecus edwardsi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Propithecus_edwardsi.html
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Lorraine Negron, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Robin Weber, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Habitat

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Milne-Edward's sifakas live on the eastern coast of Madagascar in the coastal mountain range in primary and secondary forest habitats from 600 to 1600 m elevatiion. Forested habitats in these mountains have been reduced by human exploitation, although areas are now protected in refuges.

Range elevation: 600 to 1600 m.

Habitat Regions: tropical ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: forest ; rainforest ; mountains

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Negron, L. and R. Weber 2009. "Propithecus edwardsi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Propithecus_edwardsi.html
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Lorraine Negron, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Life Expectancy

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Milne-Edward's sifakas can live a long time and reproduce slowly. Almost half of all young Milne-Edward's sifakas do not survive beyond 1 year because of predation and stress associated with habitat loss. Some mortalities of young are the result of infanticide by males from outside of family groups.

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Negron, L. and R. Weber 2009. "Propithecus edwardsi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Propithecus_edwardsi.html
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Lorraine Negron, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Robin Weber, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Morphology

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Milne-Edward's sifakas are black or chocolate brown sifakas with white patches on the hind legs and back. These white patches are not always present and sometimes are replaced by silver-tipped hairs. They have a short, naked black face with forward facing eyes for increased depth perception. The ears are also naked but generally covered by the fur on the head. Males have a dark black or brown gular gland. Their eyes are orange-red. Head and body length is from 42 to 52 cm, tail length is from 41 to 48 cm, and weight is from 5 to 6.5 kg.

Range mass: 5 to 6.5 kg.

Range length: 42 to 52 cm.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike

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Negron, L. and R. Weber 2009. "Propithecus edwardsi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Propithecus_edwardsi.html
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Lorraine Negron, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Robin Weber, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Associations

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Milne-Edward's sifakas are preyed on by fossas (Cryptoprocta ferox). In order to avoid these predators they use their jumping speed which surpasses the speed of a fossa in the trees. Young may also be preyed on by large raptors, although this has not been documented.

Known Predators:

  • fossas (Cryptoprocta ferox)
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Negron, L. and R. Weber 2009. "Propithecus edwardsi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Propithecus_edwardsi.html
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Lorraine Negron, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Robin Weber, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Reproduction

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Milne-Edward's sifakas are generally not monogamous for life. Family groups normally have one adult pair which reproduces. The rest of the family group is usually the offspring of this pair. During the mating season, towards the end of May, males sometimes move through groups, which helps to maintain diversity in the gene pool. Milne-Edward's sifakas currently tend to live in somewhat larger groups because of the restriction of their home ranges due to habiat loss. Males use their gular glands to stimulate estrus in females. They mark trees and branches and even mark the fur on the head and back of the members of the opposite sex. Males follow females smelling their genitalia to determine mating readiness.

Mating System: monogamous

Milne-Edward's sifakas reproduce slowly. Females reproduce every other year, with birth in June and July. Family groups tend to have one pair of breeding adults, the rest of the group are their offspring from past seasons. Groups typically only grow by one or two new members every breeding season.

Breeding interval: Females breed every other year.

Breeding season: End of May

Range number of offspring: 1 to 2.

Range gestation period: 17 to 22 weeks.

Average weaning age: 2 months.

Average time to independence: 8 months.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; viviparous

Milne-Edward's sifaka young are carried on their mother's stomach until they are ready to latch onto their backs at about 3 to 4 weeks old. Once an infant sifaka starts to try climbing and leaping on its own, it is not unusual to see them fall. Sifakas learn by watching adults. When a mother sifaka sees that her young as fallen, she goes to take care of it. Females are usually in charge of taking care of the infants. However, it is not uncommon to see male sifakas providing food to females to give to their young and sometimes the young of others.

Parental Investment: precocial ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-independence (Provisioning: Male, Female, Protecting: Female); post-independence association with parents; extended period of juvenile learning

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Negron, L. and R. Weber 2009. "Propithecus edwardsi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Propithecus_edwardsi.html
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Lorraine Negron, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Robin Weber, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Milne-Edwards's sifaka

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Milne-Edwards's sifaka (Propithecus edwardsi), or Milne-Edwards's simpona, is a large arboreal, diurnal lemur endemic to the eastern coastal rainforest of Madagascar. Milne-Edwards's sifaka is characterized by a black body with a light-colored "saddle" on the lower part of its back. It is closely related to the diademed sifaka, and was until recently considered a subspecies of it.[3] Like all sifakas, it is a primate in the family Indriidae.

Conservation status

Milne-Edwards's sifaka is categorized as endangered by the IUCN, and is listed in CITES Appendix I.[1][2] As of 2008 there were estimated to be approximately 28600 individuals left with only about 3500 of those remaining in protected areas.[4] It remains threatened by habitat loss, hunting and may be sensitive to a changing climate.[4]

Anatomy and physiology

Milne-Edwards's sifaka is the second largest species in Propithecus, and one of the larger diurnal lemur species overall. The average weight of a male Milne-Edwards's sifaka is 5.90 kg (13.0 lb) and for females it is 6.30 kg (13.9 lb). The body length excluding the tail is 47.6 cm (18.7 in) for males and females measure 47.7 cm (18.8 in).[5] The tail is slightly shorter than the body, averaging 455 mm (17.9 in) in length or about 94% of the total head and body length.[6]

The Milne-Edwards's sifaka has a typical Propithecus body shape with orange-red eyes and a short, black, bare face ringed by a puffy spray of dark brown to black fur. The majority of its coat is dark brown or black long silky fur, but on the center of the sifaka's back and flanks is a brown to cream colored saddle shaped area which is divided in half by a line of dark fur along the spine. The shape and coloration of the saddle patch vary by individual. The Milne-Edwards' sifaka exhibit neither sexual dimorphism nor sexual dichromatism.[5]

As with all lemurs, the Milne-Edwards's sifaka has special adaptations for grooming, including a toilet-claw on its second toe, and a toothcomb.[7][8]

The hands and feet of the lemur have prehensile "thumbs" and big toes, which allow it to maintain a superb grip on trunks and branches. The pads of its fingers and toes are rough and have a large contact area. Its nails are also sharp and pointed, which allows them to dig in if it slips. The big toe of the Milne-Edwards's sifaka and indrids in general is longer and has a deeper cleft compared to that of lemurids. This is thought to reflect stronger grasping abilities.[9]

Locomotion

 src=
Dorsal view

The arboreal lifestyle of P. edwardsi demands high coordination, a well-developed grip, and considerable acrobatics. This lemur moves by vertical clinging and leaping, meaning it maintains an upright position leaping from tree trunk to tree trunk and moving along branches. It leaping between trees, the Milne-Edwards's sifaka performs a 180 degree twist in midair so that it is facing the incoming landing target. Primarily movements of the arms but also those of the tail are used to adjust the body's rotation and stability on the fly. When landing, the Milne-Edwards's sifaka swings its tail and outstretched forearms downward to help keep the body forward much like a long-jumper. It hands hind legs first. The tail and one arm is flung forward turing takeoff.[6]

Milne-Edwards's sifakas can probably leap between 8 to 10 m (26 to 33 ft). The lemur rarely descends from the relative safety of the canopy, so spends little time on the ground. P. edwardsi will solely use trees to traverse its habitat, however if forced to cross open area like roads it will use a bipedal sideways hop.[10][11]

The Milne-Edwards's sifaka can hang from its hind legs upside-down.[9]

The sifaka practices climbing and leaping in its infancy when it ventures from its mother's back. It is not uncommon for infant lemurs to fall, whereupon the mother quickly comes to the infant's assistance. Adult lemurs typically don't fall although they may occasionally lose their grip if the bark of the tree shears off from beneath their fingers. Lemurs may carry food while they travel in their hands, though they prefer to place the objects in their mouth.

Genus Propithecus Feet.jpg

Ecology

Geographic range and habitat

Milne-Edwards's sifaka is endemic to the island of Madagascar off the southeastern coast of Africa. Milne-Edwards's sifaka is found in primary and secondary rainforests on the southeastern part of the island at elevations between 600 and 1,600 m (2,000 and 5,200 ft). Milne-Edwards' sifaka has the southernmost range of the diademed sifakas. The Mangoro and Onive rivers border the northern part of its range and its southern range extends to Andringitra National Park and the Rienana River.[5][12]

Sympatric relations

The following lemur species can be found within the same geographic range as the Milne-Edwards's sifaka:[5][13]

Behavior

 src=
nestling in foliage

The behavior and social organization of P. edwardsi is particularly well studied.[5] The Milne-Edwards's sifaka is arboreal, diurnal, territorial, and group-forming. Females are dominant over males, typical of lemurs but extremely rare in all other primates.

Diet

The Milne-Edwards's sifaka's diet is composed primarily of both mature and immature leaves and seeds, but they also regularly consume flowers and fruit. They also supplement their diet with soil and subterranean fungus. In the process of foraging, the Milne-Edwards' sifakas range an average of 670 m (2,200 ft) per day.[5]

Social organization

Milne-Edwards's sifakas form multi-male/multi-female, multi-age groups of between three and nine individuals with a mean group size of 4.8.[5] Depending on the number and gender of individuals, the group may be polygynandrous, polyandrous, polygynous, or monogamous. Shifts in the number of individuals or the ratio of males and females will affect the social structure. The groups provide protection from predators, while the size is limited by inter-group competition for seasonal feeding resources. Group dynamics are probably dictated by balancing the benefits and costs of predation protection, inter-group competition for food resources, and mating opportunities. About half of Milne-Edwards's sifakas of the individuals of both sexes born in a particular group will emigrate; females leave as juveniles, while males can leave as both juveniles and adults.[5]

Reproduction

Milne-Edwards's sifakas become sexually mature at 2 or 3 years or age. Milne-Edwards's sifakas have one mating season annually during the austral summer in the months of December and January. Females give birth during the austral winter months of May and July after a 179-day gestation.[5]

Research

Most of the research on Propithecus edwardsi is conducted at Ranomafana National Park in Madagascar. Most of the lemurs are collared and the lead females carry a tracking device. Currently there are no captive lemurs of this species.

References

  1. ^ a b c Wright, P., Hearthstone, E., Andrianoely, D., Donohue, M.E. & Otero-Jiménez, B.J. (2020). "Propithecus edwardsi". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2020: e.T18359A115573104. Retrieved 20 July 2020.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b "Checklist of CITES Species". CITES. UNEP-WCMC. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  3. ^ a b Groves, C. P. (2005). "Propithecus edwardsi". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 120. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. OCLC 62265494.
  4. ^ a b Dunham, A. E.; Erhart, E.; Overdorff, D. J. & Wright, P. C. (2008). "Evaluating the effects of deforestation, hunting and El Niño on a threatened lemur". Biological Conservation. 141: 287–297. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2007.10.006.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Gron, K. J. (February 4, 2008). "Primate Factsheets: Diademed sifaka (Propithecus diadema) Taxonomy, Morphology, & Ecology". Retrieved June 15, 2009.
  6. ^ a b Demes, B.; W. L. Jungers; J. G. Fleagle; R. E. Wunderlich; B. G. Richmond; P. Lemelin (October 2006). "Body size and leaping kinematics in Malagasy vertical clingers and leapers". Journal of Human Evolution. Academic Press. 31 (4): 367–388. doi:10.1006/jhev.1996.0066.
  7. ^ Soligo, C.; Müller, A.E. (1999). "Nails and claws in primate evolution". Journal of Human Evolution. 36 (1): 97–114. doi:10.1006/jhev.1998.0263. PMID 9924135.
  8. ^ Tattersall, Ian (2006). "Origin of the Malagasy strepsirhine primates". In Gould, Lisa; Sauther, Michelle L. (eds.). Lemurs: Ecology and Adaptation (Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects) (1st ed.). Springer. pp. 7–8. ISBN 978-0-387-34585-7.
  9. ^ a b Gebo, Daniel L.; Marian Dagosto (February–April 1988). "Foot anatomy, climbing, and the origin of the Indriidae". Journal of Human Evolution. Elsevier Ltd. 17 (1–2): 135–154. doi:10.1016/0047-2484(88)90052-8.
  10. ^ George Williams (2001). "Propithecus diadema edwardsi, Milne-Edward's Sifaka". Ranomafana National Park. Stony Brook University. Archived from the original on July 26, 2011. Retrieved April 10, 2011.
  11. ^ Crompton, R. H.; W. I. Sellers (2007). "Locomotion and predator avoidance in prosimian primates". In K. A. I. Nekaris; S. L. Gursky (eds.). Primate Anti-Predator Strategies. New York, New York: Springer. pp. 127–145. ISBN 978-0-387-34807-0.
  12. ^ Mittermeier, R. A.; Konstant, W. R.; Hawkins, F.; Louis, E. E.; Langrand, O.; Ratsimbazafy, J.; Rasoloarison, R.; Ganzhorn, J. U.; Rajaobelina, S.; Tattersall, I. (2006). Lemurs of Madagascar (2nd ed.). Washington DC: Conservation International. pp. 520 p.
  13. ^ Wright, P. C. (1992). "Primate ecology, rainforest conservation, and economic development: building a national park in Madagascar". Evolutionary Anthropology. 1 (1): 25–33. doi:10.1002/evan.1360010108.

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Milne-Edwards's sifaka: Brief Summary

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Milne-Edwards's sifaka (Propithecus edwardsi), or Milne-Edwards's simpona, is a large arboreal, diurnal lemur endemic to the eastern coastal rainforest of Madagascar. Milne-Edwards's sifaka is characterized by a black body with a light-colored "saddle" on the lower part of its back. It is closely related to the diademed sifaka, and was until recently considered a subspecies of it. Like all sifakas, it is a primate in the family Indriidae.

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