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Colugos: Dermoptera

Malayan Colugo (cynocephalus Variegatus): Species Account

Physical characteristics: Malayan colugos are also called Malayan flying lemurs. They resemble lemurs with their dog-like shaped heads. Malayan colugos have large eyes, long limbs, and sharp claws. Their fur is gray or brown with white spots along the back. Their head and body length is about 15 inches (38 centimeters), and they weigh approximately 3.3 pounds (1.5 kilograms). The fur of male colugos is generally brown to red-brown with white spots, and in females it is grayish brown with white spots. The underside of the animal is a lighter orange-yellow to orange color.

Geographic range: Malayan colugos are found in Southeast Asia, including Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Borneo, and some nearby islands.

Habitat: Malayan colugos live in tropical forests and woodlands.

Malayan colugo babies stay on the female's belly, enclosed in the patagium, folded into a pouch, for about six months. (Peter Ward/Bruce Coleman Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

Diet: Malayan colugos are herbivores, eating leaves, buds, pods, flowers, and fruit.

Behavior and reproduction: Malayan colugos are independent and solitary animals. They are nocturnal, resting during the day in tree hollows, against trees, or while clinging to branches. Individual animals have their own feeding area, or even tree, and follow a pattern of returning to the same area every evening.

Malayan colugos generally have one offspring per birthing period. Gestation period is about sixty days. When the offspring is born it is poorly developed, like a marsupial. It stays on the female's belly, enclosed in the patagium, folded into a pouch, until it is weaned at about six months.

Malayan colugos and people: Destruction of the rainforest for timber and agriculture has caused the loss of habitat for Malayan colugos. They are also hunted for their fur and meat.

Conservation status: Malayan colugos are not listed as a threatened species. ∎



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Web sites:

"Dermoptera—Skin Winged Mammals." America Zoo. http://www.americazoo.com/goto/index/mammals/dermoptera.htm (accessed on June 23, 2004).

Ellis, E. "Cynocephalus variegates." Animal Diversity Web. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Cynocephalus_variegatus.html (accessed on June 23, 2004).

"Flying Lemur Called Another Close Relative of Humans." http://www.colugos.com/flying-lemur.html (accessed on June 23, 2004).

Focus on Wildlife. "Colugo (Flying Lemur)." Ecology Asia. http://www.ecologyasia.com/Vertebrates/colugo.htm (accessed on June 23, 2004).

Sarawak National Parks and Wildlife. "Paratroopers Have Landed: Colugo or Flying Lemur." The Sarawak Wildlife Weblet. http://www.mered.org.uk/saraweb/animals/colugo.htm (accessed on June 23, 2004).

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsColugos: Dermoptera - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Malayan Colugo (cynocephalus Variegatus): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, COLUGOS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS