flying lemur

flying lemur, gliding mammal native to the tropical lowland forests of S Asia, Malaya, and the Philippines. Also called the colugo, the flying lemur is brownish or grayish above and paler below. It ranges in length from 14 to 17 in. (36–43 cm), plus a 12-in. (30-cm) tail. A membrane stretching from forelimbs to tail resembles that of the bat (but unlike the bat membrane it is not supported by fingers) and allows the animal to glide from tree to tree; the flying lemur does not truly fly. Although its teeth resemble those of carnivores, the flying lemur's diet consists of fruit and leaves. It sleeps by day and forages at dusk. Females give birth to one or two young following a gestation period of 60 days. Flying lemurs are not related to true lemurs which are primates, but belong to an order of their own. Like many rain-forest species, they are endangered by loss of their habitat to deforestation. There are two species, classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Dermoptera, family Cynocephalidae, genus Cynocephalus.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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