Demidoff’s bushbabies can be found in either primary or secondary rainforests. Due to their small size, these animals can live in the dense foliage of the forest where other prosimians would have a great deal of difficulty moving. They prefer biotope zones with fine branches and/or liane curtains, where the diameters of their supports are generally less than 5 cm. In primary forests, this area is high in the canopy (5 to 40 m). In secondary forests, and in tree fall zones in primary forests, they are usually found in bushy vegetation only a few meters (0 to 5 m) off the ground. They can often be seen in the dense vegetation by the roadside and in ditches. (Charles-Dominique, 1977; Napier and Napier, 1967; Nowak, 1997)
The genus Galago is noted for its leaping ability. Both the length of the hind limbs, which are much longer than the forelimbs, and the elongation in the tarsal region in the foot, assist in locomotion. When running, the hind limbs of exert the most force, working to propel the body, while the fore limbs mainly provide support and stability. In the type of habitat these animals inhabit, this division between the limbs is necessary. The branches used by tend to be thin and unstable, which can throw an individual off balance. Thus it is necessary for these animals to use their forelimbs and long tails to maintain equilibrium. Keeping well balanced is important for these animals because they use running and leaping equally in their locomotion. (Charles-Dominique, 1977; Nowak, 1997)
Females provide most of the care for offspring. As in most primates, this includes nursing the young, grooming them, protecting them, and playing with them. The role of males in offspring care has not been documented, but may include grooming and protection. Although males are not "active" in this role, the young do follow them while foraging, allowing the young animals to find food. (Charles-Dominique, 1977)
Both the males and females of (Charles-Dominique, 1977)are mostly solitary animals. Field observations indicate that during the active hours of the night, spends 75% of the time isolated, 21% in pairs, and 2% or less in groups of 3, 4, or 5.
Interspecific behavior: Prosimians are rarely, if ever, aggressive in interspecies encounters. If two species meet in the presence of food, the larger (or if the same size, the quicker of the two species) makes off with the food. Due to species separation into the different stratifications of the forest, and hence specializations in different types of prey items, encounters between species are unlikely. (Charles-Dominique, 1977)
Demidoff’s bushbabies also use vocalizations to communicate with conspecifics. Six distinct types of calls have been defined within Galago species if they are uttering distress calls. (Charles-Dominique, 1977)communication. Gathering calls are mainly heard as dawn approaches and the individuals are attempting to re-group at a sleeping site or particular leaf nest. The "rolling call" is used to communicate after the group has reassembled. This call can also be connected with adults seeking contact with each other. "Plaintive squeaks" are generally associated with sexual relationships between males and females. "Alarm calls" are the most common type of vocalization. While used spontaneously upon awakening, these calls are uttered only occasionally throughout the night, often in response to such things as strange noises, encountering a predator, or an unknown conspecific, etc. A "threat call" is used by an individual to intimidate a conspecific. The latter will generally flee from the confrontation. And finally, the "distress call" is used after an individual has been captured or injured. It is important to note that adults sometimes approach the young of other
As with many primate species, allogrooming is an important part of social dynamics. This tactile communication is preformed through licking and using the ‘toothcomb’ (composed of the four lower incisors and the procumbent two canines) to cleanse another individual. Most often occurring between a mother and her offspring, allogrooming can also occur between adults in an established social group. Allogrooming takes place most frequently during the time period just after these animals awaken, or just after they return to their sleeping site. The other form of tactile communication occurs in ‘contact groups’, where several individuals sleep entwined at a single nest site throughout the day. (Charles-Dominique, 1977)
Demidoff’s bushbabies are primarily insectivores; 70% of their diet is composed of insects, mostly small beetles (45%), nocturnal moths (38%), and caterpillars (10%). They also consume fruits (19% of their diet) and gums (10%). Because of their small size, they can feed almost exclusively on prey items, whereas the other species of galagos must rely on vegetation to make up a greater portion of their diets. (Charles-Dominique, 1977; Napier and Napier, 1967; Napier and Napier, 1985; Nowak, 1997)
The composition of the diet changes depending upon the time of feeding. Demidoff’s bushbabies feed predominately on fruits and gums when they initially arise during the early hours of the night (18.30 to 24.00). During this time period, fruits and gums make up 35% of their diet. During the later hours of the night, from 24.00 to 6.00, such foods make up only 20% of the diet. Demidoff’s bushbabies generally eat fruit slowly, using their tooth scrapers to pick off tiny pieces. They never consume the kernels. Fruits often come from trees of the genus Uapaca, or from parasol trees, Musanga cecropiodes. Observations from the wild suggest that the gums consumed by come from only five tree species: Entada gigas, Entada celerata, Penacletra eetveldeana, Piptadenstrum africanum, and Albizia gummifera. (Charles-Dominique, 1977; Napier and Napier, 1967; Napier and Napier, 1985; Nowak, 1997)
Demidoff’s bushbabies locate prey using auditory and visual cues, and often will capture an insect just as it takes off. The disturbance caused by a bush baby’s locomotion through the canopy causes the prey to flee. This movement cues a bushbaby to the prey’s location. Prey can escape detection by remaining immobile, but as soon as the slightest movement occurs, a bushbaby can spot the insect. Bushbabies do this by directing their ears in the correct direction and localizing the sound. Experiments have shown that (Charles-Dominique, 1977; Napier and Napier, 1967; Napier and Napier, 1985; Nowak, 1997)is so good at localizing sounds that individuals can follow the exact movements of a flying locust from the other side of a plywood screen. Demidoff's bushbabies move their heads, just as they would if they could actually see the insect. This ability to track insects is highly adaptive, as bushbabies usually hunt in the dense foliage of invading lianes.
In order to actually catch prey during take off, Demidoff's bushbabies will firmly grasp a branch with the hind feet, and then thrust the body forward towards the prey. Once the insect has been captured, (Charles-Dominique, 1977)will recoil immediately to its starting position.
Information on this topic is not available in the literature. However, we can assume that as insectivores, these animals exert an impact on the populations of prey insects. As part of their fruit eating behavior, it is likely that these animals help to disperse seeds. To the extent that any other species relies upon Demidoff's bushbabies for food, they may also have an impact upon predator populations.
It is unlikely that these animals have any negative impact on human populations.
Though considered vulnerable by many scientific groups, ("Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program", 1998)is not listed as an endangered species. Like all primates, is listed on CITES appendix II.
Demidoff's bushbabies were previously recognized under the name Galagoides demidoff.
Nancy Shefferly (editor), Animal Diversity Web.
Christie Sampson (author), Michigan State University, Barbara Lundrigan (editor, instructor), Michigan State University.
living in sub-Saharan Africa (south of 30 degrees north) and Madagascar.
uses sound to communicate
Referring to an animal that lives in trees; tree-climbing.
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
an animal that mainly eats meat
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
active at dawn and dusk
having markings, coloration, shapes, or other features that cause an animal to be camouflaged in its natural environment; being difficult to see or otherwise detect.
animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.
union of egg and spermatozoan
A substance that provides both nutrients and energy to a living thing.
An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.
offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).
Having one mate at a time.
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
active during the night
having more than one female as a mate at one time
rainforests, both temperate and tropical, are dominated by trees often forming a closed canopy with little light reaching the ground. Epiphytes and climbing plants are also abundant. Precipitation is typically not limiting, but may be somewhat seasonal.
specialized for leaping or bounding locomotion; jumps or hops.
communicates by producing scents from special gland(s) and placing them on a surface whether others can smell or taste them
breeding is confined to a particular season
remains in the same area
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
associates with others of its species; forms social groups.
uses touch to communicate
Living on the ground.
defends an area within the home range, occupied by a single animals or group of animals of the same species and held through overt defense, display, or advertisement
the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.
uses sight to communicate
reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.
breeding takes place throughout the year
Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program. 1998. "Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program" (On-line). Demidoff's Galago. Accessed March 12, 2004 at http://www.bioko.org/primates/demidoff.asp.
World Wildlife Fund. 2001. "World Wildlife Fund: WildWorld" (On-line). Western Congolian swamp forests (AT0129). Accessed March 11, 2004 at http://www.worldwildlife.org/wildworld/profiles/terrestrial/at/at0129_full.html.
Charles-Dominique, P. 1977. Ecology and Behaviour of Nocturnal Primates. Great Britain: Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd.
Lindenfors, P. 2002. Sexually antagonistic selection on primate size. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 15, (4): 595-607. Accessed March 11, 2004 at http://www.primate.wisc.edu/pin/jeb422.html.
Napier, J., P. Napier. 1967. A Handbook of Living Primates. New York, New York: Academic Press.
Napier, J., P. Napier. 1985. The Natural History of Primates. England: British Muesum (Natural History).
Nowak, R. 1997. "Walkers Mammals of the World Online 5.1" (On-line). Dwarf Galagos. Accessed March 11, 2004 at http://www.press.jhu.edu/books/walkers_mammals_of_the_world/primates/primates.lorisidae.galagoides.html.