First Report of Hibernating Primate Existing Outside Madagascar; Pygmy Loris in Southeast Asia Newly Shown to Hibernate; Possibly Major Clue to Better Understanding of Evolution of Hibernation

Up until now, three species of lemurs on Madagascar were the only primates known to hibernate. Researchers at Vetmeduni Vienna in Austria, have now reported, for the first time, that another primate species, the pygmy slow loris that lives in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and China, the pygmy slow loris, also uses hibernation to save energy. The results were published online today (December 3, 2015) in an open-access article in Scientific Reports. The article is titled “Hibernation in the Pygmy Slow Loris (Nycticebus Pygmaeus): Multiday Torpor In Primates Is Not Restricted to Madagascar.” Hibernation is a state of energy conservation during which body temperature and metabolism are drastically reduced. If this state lasts longer than 24 hours, it is called hibernation. Shorter periods are called daily torpor. There are many mammals that hibernate. However, among primates hibernation is a rare capability, as it had been previously found in only three species of lemurs. Lemurs live exclusively on the island of Madagascar off the east coast of Africa, where they hibernate during the dry season, mainly to conserve water. Now a team at the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology at the Vetmeduni Vienna, collaborating with colleagues from the Vietnamese Endangered Primate Rescue Center, has discovered another primate that hibernates: the pygmy slow loris (Nycticebus pygmaeus). These animals belong to the group of so-called “wet nosed primates.” They reach a body length of 7.7 inches to 9.1 inches and a body mass (adult males) of approximately 15 ounces. They live in Southeast Asia and are nocturnal, tree-living (arboreal) animals. The researchers investigated the body temperatures of five pygmy lorises in fall, winter, and spring in a Vietnam primate reservation.
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