Lesser Galago (Galago senegalensis)


MORPHOLOGY:
The average body mass for the lesser galago is around 150 to 200 grams. The females have 3 pairs of mammary glands.

RANGE:
The lesser galago is found throughout the forests of Eastern and Western Africa. The preferred habitat is the woodland savanna.

ECOLOGY:
The lesser galago primarily eats gum, but also eats insects for the protein. This species has not been observed drinking water in the wild, possibly suggesting that it obtains its water from the food it eats. The lesser galago sleeps in either a flat leaf-nest, a tree hollow, or a branch fork in a thorn tree; males sleep alone and females either sleep alone or in groups (Bearder and Martin, 1979). If there is a threat from a predator, the mother will move the infants to a different location, and will transport the infants in their mouth.

LOCOMOTION:
The lesser galago is a vertical leaper and clinger. On the ground it moves like a kangaroo, that is in a bipedal hopping gait.

SOCIAL BEHAVIOR:
The basic social group is composed of an adult male and female with offspring. Males' ranges do not overlap. The lesser galago has a polygynous mating system although females may attract more than one male (Bearder and Martin, 1979). There is a matriarchy amongst the females of the group (Bearder and Martin, 1979). In the lesser galago the males disperse and the females are philopatric.

VOCAL COMMUNICATION:
advertising: this call sounds like a bark (Estes, 1991).

alarm call: the lesser galago generally remains still when uttering an alarm call (Estes, 1991). This call can take the forms of a variety of sounds, including: grunt, sneeze, shivering stutter, "gerwhit", cluck, whistle, yap, wuff and wail, caw, and explosive cough (Estes, 1991).

aggressive calls: this call can take the form of a variety of sound, including: sob, spit, spit-chatter, spit-grunt, and rasp (Estes, 1991).

fighting call: this chatter is produced by the lesser galago by emitted a two-phase grunt superimposed on the aggressive call (Estes, 1991).

distress call: this call attracts other galagos as well as predators (Estes, 1991). This call sounds like a high-pitched scream (Estes, 1991).

infant call: this call sounds like "tsic" (Estes, 1991). The infants emit this call in hopes of receiving contact from the mother (Estes, 1991).

mother call: this call sounds like a coo or a soft hoot (Estes, 1991). The mother makes the call in response to the "tsic" call of the infant (Estes, 1991).

OLFACTORY COMMUNICATION:
urine-washing: the lesser galago takes its hands and cups them, and then deposits urine on them (Estes, 1991). Next the lesser galago takes that urine and spreads it on the soles of the feet (Estes, 1991). When the lesser galago walks now, it leaves a little bit of urine on the substrate (Estes, 1991). Males urine-wash more frequently than females do, and when the female is in estrus, the male will deposit the urine directly upon the female (Estes, 1991). A lesser galago will urine-wash when foraging in a new area, looking at a strange object, during aggressive encounters, and social grooming (Estes, 1991).

rhythmic urination: the lesser galago does this when it is in a new area (Estes, 1991). It moves slowly while depositing a small amount of urine on the substrate (Estes, 1991). This behavior is performed more frequently by female lesser galagos than it is by males (Estes, 1991).

VISUAL COMMUNICATION:
defensive attack posture: the lesser galago does this when threatened into a corner. It stands on its hindfeet with the arms in an outstretched position, with the hands cupped; it tends to look like a boxer.

staring open-mouth face: This is where the eyes are opened wide, the mouth is open with the teeth covered by the lips (Jolly, 1972). This occurs when mobbing a predator or serves to communicate an inhibited threat (Jolly, 1972).

staring bared-teeth scream face: This is where the eye are opened wide, the mouth is open with the corners drawn back so that the teeth and gums are revealed (Jolly, 1972). This display occurs with terror flight (Jolly, 1972).

silent bared-teeth face: This is where the eyes are staring at the stimulus, the eye brows are either relaxed or up, and the corners of the mouth are drawn back allowing the teeth to show (Jolly, 1972). This occurs with protective responses (Jolly, 1972).

bared-teeth gecker face: This is like silent bared-teeth face only with a rapid noise attached to it (Jolly, 1972). This occurs with defensive threat calls and also during infant clicks (Jolly, 1972).

TACTILE COMMUNICATION:
nose-to-nose sniffing: the lesser galago does this when first coming upon a conspecific (Estes, 1991). This is followed by nose-to-face contact (Estes, 1991).

nose-to-face contact: this occurs after nose-to-nose sniffing (Estes, 1991). An individual will touch the face of a conspecific with its nose (Estes, 1991).

social grooming: this behavior is not as developed in the lesser galago (Estes, 1991). This behavior is basically regulated to reciporcal licking (Estes, 1991). Each individual deposits saliva upon one another and sometimes urine (Estes, 1991).

REPRODUCTION:
This species usually gives birth to a single offspring, although twins are not uncommon. The lesser galago gives birth twice a year. During estrus the female's vulva will swell and redden (Doyle, 1974). During copulation, it may take many attempts before the male successfully mounts the female.

REFERENCES:
Bearder, S.K. and Martin, R.D. 1979. The Social Organization of a Nocturnal Primate Revealed by Radio Tracking. in A Handbook on Biotelemetry and Radio Tracking. eds. C.J. Amlaner Jr. and D.W. Macdonald. Pergamon Press.

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

Doyle, G.A. 1974. Behavior of Prosimians. in Behavior of Nonhuman Primates, Vol. 4. eds. A.M. Schrier and F. STollnitz. Academic Press.

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

Jolly, A. 1972. The Evolution of Primate Behavior. Macmillan Publishing Co., NY.

Last Updated: October 7, 2003.
[The Primata] [Primate Evolution] [Primate Taxonomy] [Primate Conservation] [Primate Fact Sheets] [Primate Definitions] [The Primate Store] [Galago Links]