Southern Needle-clawed Galago (Euoticus elegantulus)

The average body mass for the southern needle-clawed galago is around 270 to 360 grams. The premolars are shaped more like canines, and the nails are more claw-like. The hands and feet are large to assist in leaping. This species has a well-developed tarsus (Charles-Dominique, 1972). The anterior teeth of the lower jaw are modified to form a tooth comb that is used for grooming (Charles-Dominique and Bearder, 1979). On the second digit of the foot that nail has been modified to form a toilet claw used to clean the ears and other areas the tooth comb and the tongue cannot reach (Charles-Dominique and Bearder, 1979). The pelage color of this species is grayish- to reddish-brown dorsally and gray ventrally (Nash et al., 1989). The flanks of the limbs of this species are lightly colored and the tail is bushy (Nash et al., 1989). The nails of the digits except for the first keeled dorsally and pointed terminally (Nash et al., 1989). The males have penile spines that are unidentate (Nash et al., 1989). This species also has comparatively large penile spines and these may help to function during copulation to maintain a lock and assist with the transport of spermatozoa into the cervical canal (Dixson, 1989). This species has a relatively long baculum and this may lead to this species maintaining intromission after ejaculation or extended periods of intromission during copulation (Dixson, 1987).

This species is found in the following countries: Cameroon, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and Nigeria. This species is found between the Niger and Zaire Rivers around the Gulf of Guinea and on Fernando Po (Nash et al., 1989). The southern needle-clawed galago lives in primary and secondary forests. In Monte Alen National Park in Equatorial Guinea, this species was found to occur in primary and secondary forests near villages (Garcia and Mba, 1997). This species also occurs in riverine forests (Rowe, 1996).

This species primarily a gummivorous species (Charles-Dominique, 1977). This species was found to feed upon the species Entada gigas, Albizia gummifera, and Pentacletra eetveldeana for gums (Charles-Dominique and Bearder, 1979; Hladik, 1979). When foraging for gums this species uses a regular pathway of trees (Hladik, 1979). On these pathways are gum-producing trees that the southern needle-clawed galago will visit each night, visiting each one (Charles-Dominique, 1972). This species is assisted in foraging for gums on smooth trunks and large branches with the help of clawlike nails and a large tooth-scraper (tooth comb) (Hladik, 1979). It is reliant upon insects or other forces to damage the trees so that the gums are released. The southern needle-clawed galago also consumes invertebrates (Nash et al., 1989). Among the insects consumed by this species are orthopterans (grasshoppers), coleopterans (beetles), caterpillars (Lepidoptera), and moths (lepidoptera) (Charles-Dominique and Bearder, 1979). Arthropods consumed also include ants (Hymenoptera) and members of the order Homoptera (Charles-Dominique, 1972). This species will forage for insects suspended beneath a tree branch (Charles-Dominique and Bearder, 1979). This species forages for insects in the canopy layer in sparse foliage (Charles-Dominique, 1977). Gums comprise 75% of the diet, animal prey 20%, and fruits 5% (Charles-Dominique and Bearder, 1979). Because this species lives in the canopy, it can eat fruit more slowly than other species living in the lower levels of the forest (Charles-Dominique, 1977). Buds off of trees may also be consumed (Charles-Dominique, 1972). During the dry season, this species strictly survives off of gums (Charles-Dominique, 1972).

This is an arboreal species. The southern needle-clawed galago spends most of its time in forest canopy at heights of 5 to 35 meters (Charles-Dominique and Bearder, 1979). This species may come down to heights of 3 to 4 meters to lianes to forage for gum (Charles-Dominique, 1972). This species sleeps in nests made out of interwoven twigs and leaves that forms a ball and has a lateral opening (Charles-Dominique and Bearder, 1979). The southern needle-clawed galago will also sleep in tree forks hidden by dense foliage and several individuals will sleep in a tightly packed ball (Rowe, 1996). This species sleeps in groups of 2 to 7 individuals (Charles-Dominique, 1977).

The southern needle-clawed galago is a quadrupedal runner and a leaper. When moving through the forest canopy this species mostly (49%) uses large-diameter branches and lianes and the supports tend to be oblique more than vertical or horizontal (Charles-Dominique and Bearder, 1979). When leaping this species will land in foliage to help break the fall (Charles-Dominique and Bearder, 1979). When climbing vertical trunks, the southern needle-clawed galago can climb either head upward or head downward (Walker, 1979).

parachuting: this is when the southern needle-clawed galago free-falls from tree to tree. It spreads its arms and legs out to achieve maximum surface area to slow its descent.

This species is nocturnal and forages solitarily. Usually a male's territory overlaps a few females. In an introduction experiment it was found that females will chase other adult females introduced into their home range (Charles-Dominique and Bearder, 1979). Social relationships amongst females only occur in matriarchal groupings and this occurs at dawn when they come together after foraging during the night where close contact and mutual licking will occur between females and this only with sleeping in groups may reinforce social bonds (Charles-Dominique and Bearder, 1979). The female southern needle-clawed galago, like other galagines, transport her offspring in her mouth. In this species there is males disperse and females are philopatric (Rowe, 1996).

territorial call: this call sound like "quee" and is bird-like in sound (Estes, 1991). This call will elicit similar calls from area conspecifics (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979).

alarm call: these calls made be uttered in response to a predator or when awoken suddenly. This call sounds like "tee-ya" (Estes, 1991; Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979). This call is uttered in a continuous fashion with intervals of 1.5 to 2 seconds (Charles-Dominique, 1977).

infant call: this call sounds like "tsic" (Estes, 1991; Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979). This call is uttered in response to excitement (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979). This call has a duration of 0.035 seconds (Charles-Dominique, 1977).

maternal call: this call sounds like the infant "tsic" call, but is more powerful (Estes, 1991; Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979).

contact-rejection call: this call sounds like "ki-ki-ki", and is staccato (Estes, 1991). This is heard when an individual rejects contact with an approaching conspecific (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979).

aggressive call: This is uttered when an individual is attacked by a conspecific or a predator (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979). This call is a two-phase grunt often described as a "hoarse growl", and in this call a call is superimposed over the contact-rejection call (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979).

distress call: This is when an individual is extremely frightened, as in being in pain (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979). This call is a high-pitched plaintive call that sounds like "weet" (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979).

gathering call: This call functions to bring members of a group together at a sleeping site (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979).

Olfactory communication is important for the southern needle-clawed galago.

direct urine deposition: this is where a southern needle-clawed galago will directly deposit urine upon a substrate (Estes, 1991).


social grooming: this behavior is important in strengthening mother-infant bonds (Estes, 1991).

This species gives birth to a single offspring. The infants are born with eyes open and have the ability to cling to their mother's fur right after birth (Klopfer and Boskoff, 1979). In Gabon the birth season is from January to March when fruits and insects are most abundant (Nowak, 1999). During copulation, the female will be grip a branch with all fours above the branch, which differs from other galagines where the female is below the branch (Charles-Dominique, 1977).

Burton, F. 1995. The Multimedia Guide to the Non-human Primates. Prentice-Hall Canada Inc.

Charles-Dominique, P. 1972. Ecology and feeding behaviour of five sympatric lorisids in Gabon. in Prosimian Biology. eds. R.D. Martin, G.A. Doyle, and A.C. Walker. Pittsburgh University Press: Pittsburgh.

Charles-Dominique, P. 1977. Ecology and Behaviour of Nocturnal Primates. Columbia University Press: New York.

Charles-Dominique, P. and Bearder, S.K. 1979. Field studies of Lorisid behavior: Methodological aspects. in The Study of Prosimian Behavior. eds. G.A. Doyle and R.D. Martin. Academic Press: New York.

Dixson, A.F. 1987. Baculum length and copulatory behavior in primates. American Journal of Primatology. Vol. 13, 51-60.

Dixson, A.F. 1989. Sexual selection, genital morphology, and copulatory behavior in male galagos. International Journal of Primatology. Vol. 10(1), 47-55.

Estes, R. D. 1991. The Behavior Guide to African Mammals. University of California Press

Garcia, J.E. and Mba, J. 1997. Distribution, status and conservation of primates in Monte Alen National Park, Equatorial Guinea. Oryx. Vol.31(1), 67-76.

Hladik, C.M. 1979. Diet and Ecology of Prosimians. in The Study of Prosimian Behavior. eds. G.A. Doyle and R.D. Martin. Academic Press: New York.

Klopfer, P.H. and Boskoff, K.J. 1979. Maternal behavior in prosimians. in The Study of Prosimian Behavior. eds. G.A. Doyle and R.D. Martin. Academic Press: New York.

Nash, L.T., Bearder, S.K., and Olson, T.R. 1989. Synopsis of Galago species characteristics. International Journal of Primatology. Vol. 10(1), 57-80.

Nowak, R.M. 1999. Walker's Primates of the World. The Johns Hopkins University Press: Baltimore.

Petter, J.J. and Charles-Dominique, P. 1979. Vocal communication in prosimians. The Study of Prosimian Behavior. eds. G.A. Doyle and R.D. Martin. Academic Press: New York.

Rowe, N. 1996. The Pictorial Guide to the Living Primates. Pogonias Press: East Hampton, New York.

Walker, A. 1979. Prosimian locomotor behavior. in The Study of Prosimian Behavior. eds. G.A. Doyle and R.D. Martin. Academic Press: New York.

Last Updated: April 1, 2007.
[The Primata] [Primate Evolution] [Primate Taxonomy] [Primate Conservation] [Primate Fact Sheets] [Primate Definitions] [The Primate Store] [Euoticus Links]