Galeopterus variegatus, Sunda Flying Lemur

Galeopterus variegatus

 Sunda Flying Lemur


The Su Galeopterus variegatus, Sunda Flying Lemurnda Flying Lemur (Galeopterus variegatus), also known as the Malayan Flying Lemur, is a species of Colugo. Until recently, it was thought to be one of only two species of flying lemur, the other being the Philippine Flying Lemur which is found only in the Philippines. The Sunda flying lemur is found throughout Southeast Asia in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore.

Until recently, scientists recognized just two colugo species, the Sunda Colugo (Galeopterus variegatus) and the Philippine Colugo (Cynocephalus volans). But researchers analyzing genetic material from Sunda Colugos living on the Malay Peninsula, Borneo and Java found genetic differences great enough to suggest that the colugos living on each island had evolved into distinct species. The new distinct species of colugo also look slightly different. For instance, the colugos on Borneo are smaller that their Javan and mainland counterparts and the Borneo colugos also have a wider variation than their relatives in fur colour, including some with spots and others with really dark colouring.

Flying Lemurs are the closest living relatives of primates, having diverged from that group about 86 millions years ago during the Late Cretaceous. Recent molecular phylogenetic studies have demonstrated that primates, treeshrews and colugos are closely related, forming a single evolutionary grouping that can be traced back to a common ancestral species.

The Malayan Flying Lemur is not a lemur and does not fly. Instead, it glides as it leaps among trees. It is strictly arboreal, is active at night, and feeds on soft plant parts such as young leaves, shoots, flowers, and fruits. After a 60-day gestation period, a single offspring is carried on the mother's abdomen held by a large skin membrane. It is a forest-dependent species.

Head-body length of Sunda Flying Lemur is about 34 to 38 cm. Its tail length is around 24 to 25 cm and weight is 0.9 to 1.3 kg.

Sunda Flying Lemur is protected by national legislation. Hunting by local people for meat is a major threat to this animal. Besides that, deforestation and loss of habitat also cause their population declines. Moreover, competition occurred with the Plantain squirrel (Callosciurus notatus) is one of the threat to Sunda Flying Lemur. More information is needed on population declines, but at present it is believed that the rate of the decline is probably not fast enough to trigger listing in any category other than Least Concern.