The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)

Are lorises really slow? Ecological context of rapid locomotion in slow lorises (Nycticebus)


1Nocturnal Primate Research Group, Oxford Brookes University, 2School of Agriculture and Food Science, University of Queensland

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In many languages lorises (Nycticebus) are branded by the sobriquet of slow, shy, fat or lazy. Asia’s slow lorises certainly are committed tree dwellers, and with an inability to leap, a cryptic anti-predator strategy, and a tendency to freeze, one can see how these terms have arisen. Here we present data from a study of the pygmy slow loris (N. pygmaeus, 2008-2009) in Seima Protection Forest, Cambodia We collected observational, morphometric and spatial distribution data from 10 radio-collared individuals (5 ♀, average weight 427 g; 5 ♂, average weight 411 g) to estimate home range for 358 hours. Using kernel and MCP analysis, home range sizes (mean ± SD) measured 22.23 ± 10.28 ha in adult males (n=3); 12.08 ± 1.73 ha in adult females (n=4); and 12.49 ± 2.16 ha in sub-adults (n=3). Utilisation Distribution Overlap Indices (UDOI) ranged from 0.002 – 0.977 at the 95% isopleth, and 0.097-0.130 at the 50% isopleth. Nightly path lengths ranged from 800 m to 6 km. Limited movement correlated with cold temperatures and light moon nights. When comparing the context of rapid movement to six other recent studies, patterns can be observed. Extensive movement was used for targeted travel between feeding sites including gum and floral nectar. Rapid movement also occurred while lorises moved on a single substrate to cross gaps, during which lorises appear markedly vulnerable. Finally comparative analysis of the ranging behaviour of lorises with other nocturnal primates suggests that lorises are in fact not so slow after all.

Leverhulme Trust, People's Trust for Endangered Species, International Primate Protection League, Columbus Zoo, Cleveland Zoo, CBOT Endangered Species Fund, Primate Conservation Inc, Primate Action Fund, Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, ZGAP, Quantum Conservation

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