Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance logo
San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Library logo

Coquerel's Sifaka (Propithecus coquereli) Fact Sheet: Physical Characteristics

Physical Characteristics

  Males & Females
Body Weight 3.7-4.3 kg (8.2-9.5 lb)
Head & Body Length 42-50 cm (1.4-2 ft)
Tail Length 50-60 cm (2 ft)
Body measurements from Andriantomopohavana et al. 2006; Mittermeier et al. 2010

General Appearance

Body shape (from Mittermeier et al. 2013)

  • Medium-sized lemur
  • Limbs
    • Hindlimbs elongate
      • Longer than body; as with other indrids
    • Forelimbs shorter with limited mobility; due to presence of a rudimentary gliding membrane (fold of skin connecting the arm to the body)
  • Hands and feet
    • Elongate and narrow
    • Feet longer than hands
    • Palms and soles padded
    • Pointed nails on each finger; flat nails on all toes except for the 2nd which contains a grooming claw
    • Thumb short and only slightly opposable
    • First toe may spread laterally more than 90o; provides excellent grip
  • Tail long

Facial characteristics (from Mittermeier et al. 2010 unless otherwise noted)

  • Muzzle and face black, hairless
    • Nose with white fur patch on top
  • Ears black, hairless
    • Prominent against white hair of the head
  • Eyes yellow
    • Iris circular (Hill 1953)

Adult pelage (from Mittermeier et al. 2010)

  • White coat
    • Covers most of the body
    • Dorsal surface white, extending onto the tail
  • Chestnut-brown to maroon patches
    • Cover the chest and portions of the limbs
      • Extend to near the wrists on the forelimbs
      • Confined to the upper thigh on the hindlimbs
  • Hair dense

Teeth (from Mittermeier et al. 2013)

  • 30 in total
  • Incisors
    • "Toothcomb" formed by lower front teeth
    • Upper incisors large
  • Canines
    • Upper canines sharp and elongate

Sexual Dimorphism

None reported (Mittermeier et al. 2013)

Other Characteristics

Adaptations (from Mittermeier et al. 2013 unless otherwise noted)

  • "Toothcomb"
    • Tall, slender incisors separated with narrow gaps
      • Project forward and slightly upward
    • Aids in grooming and feeding (Cuozzo and Yamashita 2006)
  • Digestive specialization
    • Shearing molars, an enlarged cecum, a long gastrointestinal tract, and prolonged gut passage aid in digestion of leafy material

Coquerel's Sifaka Appearance

a sifaka in a tree looking thoughtful

Long hindlimbs help propel sifakas through the air as they leap from one vertical tree trunk to another.

The upper thighs, arms, and chest have chestnut-colored patches of fur which contrast against the crisp white hairs of the body.

Image credit: © F. Vassen from Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Sifaka Adaptations

teeth of a sifaka

Many lemurs have modified incisors used to comb through their hair.

This image depicts the toothcomb of the ringtail lemur (Lemur catta).

Image credit: © Maky from Wikimedia Commons. Some rights reserved.

Page Citations

Andriantomopohavana et al. (2006)
Cuozzo and Yamashita (2006)
Hill (1953)
Mittermeier et al. (2010)
Mittermeier et al. (2013)

SDZWA Library Links