Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Galeopterus variegatus (Audebert, 1799)

Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum/Division:Chordata
Class:Mammalia
Order:Dermoptera
Family:Cynocephalidae
Genus:Galeopterus
Species:G. variegatus
Common Names:Colugo, Flying Lemur
Status:Vulnerable

Description

The Colugo has mottled rufous or grey fur. Its head is small with a pointed muzzle and large eyes. Along both sides of the body is an extended flap of membrane that stretches between the limbs and tail. Its head and body measures up to 38 cm while its tail can measure up to 26.5 cm.

Read more about the Dermoptera order.
Read more about the Cynocephalidae family.

Distribution

The Colugo can be found in Malaysia, western Indonesia, Myanmar, southern Thailand and parts of southern Indochina.

Localities

The Colugo is fairly common in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and Central Catchment Nature Reserve. It is also found in some of the adjacent areas such as Mandai forest north of Mandai Road, and patches of woodlands south of the Pan-Island Expressway, near Swiss Club Road.

Locality Map

General Biology

Eventhough called the Flying Lemur, it does not actually fly but rather glides. It expands the membrane on the sides of its body to catch the air as it glides between trees. Nocturnal, it would spend its day clinging to tree trunks and hanging from branches. Its coat often resembles lichens or a bunch of dead leaves, allowing it to camouflage. It would usually start to be active at around 1730 hours. They live in pristine primary rainforest or mature regrown secondary forest, but are quite well adapted to disturbed forest edges and coastal plantations as well.

The colugo has been seen in a failed attack by a Changeable Hawk-eagle (Spizaetus cirrhatus, pale morph). It remained motionless for about 40 minutes after the incident before scampering up the tree trunk and disappeared in the canopy.

Diet

Not much is known about the diet of colugos but it includes leaves and flowers.

Life Cycle

Colugos breed all year round with the females giving birth to one young at a time, with twins appearing rarely. The gestation period is said to be about 150 or 180 days. The young is naked and underdeveloped at birth and the parent would carry it on its underside until it is weaned at approximately 6 months.

References

Chua, M.A.H. & K.K.P. Lim, 2011. Colugos. Pp. 270. In: Ng, P. K. L., R. T. Corlett & H. T. W. Tan (editors), Singapore Biodiversity. An Encyclopedia of the Natural Environment and Sustainable Development. Editions Didier Millet, Singapore, 552 pp.

Lim, N.T-L. & M. Strange, 2007. Colugo: The Flying Lemur of South-East Asia. Draco Publishing and Distribution Pte Ltd and National University of Singapore, 80 pp.

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