loris, name for slow-moving, nocturnal, arboreal primates of the family Lorisidae, found Africa and Asia. True lorises, found in India, Sri Lanka, and SE Asia, have round heads, large round eyes, and furry bodies. They have no tails, and their index fingers are vestigial. Lorises move hand over hand through the trees, gripping the branches firmly with hands and feet; they feed on insects and vegetable matter. There are two types, the slender lorises ( Loris species), with a body that is 7 to 10 in. (18 to 20 cm) long and very thin legs, and the slow lorises ( Nycticebus species), with a body that is from 7 to 16 in. long (18 to 40 cm) and short, thick legs. The slow lorises have pale brownish fur with a darker dorsal stripe. African members of the loris family, found in tropical regions, are the potto ( Perodicticus potto ), which has a stumpy tail, and the angwantibo ( Arctocebus calabarensis ), characterized by its pointed face. The bush babies, or galagos, a distinctive group of small, swift-moving animals that were classed as a loris subfamily are now in a separate family. Lorises are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Primates, family Lorisidae.

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

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