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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)

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