potto

Potto
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Mammalia
Order:Primates
Family:Lorisidae
Subfamily:Perodicticinae
Genus:Perodicticus
Bennett, 1831
Species:P. potto
Binomial name
Perodicticus potto
(Statius Müller, 1766)


The Potto (Perodicticus potto) is a strepsirrhine primate from the Lorisidae family. It is the only species in genus Perodicticus. The name "Potto" possibly comes from the African word "pata", which means tailless ape. The Potto is also known as Bosman's Potto, after its supposed discoverer, and in some English-speaking parts of Africa it is called a Softly-softly.

There are three recognized subspecies:
  • Perodicticus potto potto
  • Perodicticus potto edwardsi
  • Perodicticus potto ibeanus
A few closely related species also have "potto" in their name: the two golden potto species (also known as angwantibos) and the False Potto.

Habitat

Pottos inhabit the canopy of rain forests in tropical Africa, from Guinea to Kenya and Uganda into the north of the Democratic Republic of Congo. They are nocturnal and arboreal, sleeping during the day in the leaves and almost never descending from the trees.

Physiology

Pottos grow to a length of 30 to 40 cm with a short (3 to 10 cm) tail and their maximum weight is 1.5 kg. The close, woolly fur is grey brown. The index finger is vestigial, although they have opposable thumbs with which they grasp branches firmly. At the second toes of the hind legs they have the fine claw typical for strepsirrhines. Three of the vertebrae in the Potto's neck have sharp points and nearly pierce the skin; these are used as defensive weapons. Both males and females have large scent glands under the tail (in females, the swelling created by the glands is known as a pseudo-scrotum), which they use to mark their territories and to reinforce pair bonds. Pottos have a distinct odor that some observers have likened to curry.

Locomotion and diet

Pottos move slowly and carefully, always gripping a branch with at least two limbs. They are also quiet creatures. Their commonest call is a high-pitched 'tsic,' which is used mainly between mother and offspring.

Studies of stomach contents have shown that the Potto diet consists of about 65% fruit, 21% tree gums and 10% insects. Pottos have also occasionally been known to catch bats and small birds. Their strong jaws enable them to eat fruits and lumps of dried gum that are too tough for other tree-dwellers. The insects they eat tend to have a strong smell, possibly because more palatable insects are snatched up by faster-moving creatures.

Territorial and reproductive behaviour

Pottos inhabit firm territories which they mark with urine and glandular secretions, and same-sex intruders are vehemently guarded against, although each male's territory generally overlaps with that of two or more females. Females have been known to donate part of their territories to their daughters, but sons leave their mother's territory upon maturity.

As part of their courting rituals, Pottos often meet for bouts of mutual grooming. This is frequently performed while they hang upside down from a branch. Grooming consists of licking, combing fur with the grooming claw and teeth, and anointing with the scent glands. Pottos mate face-to-face while hanging upside down from a branch.

After a gestation of about 170 days the female gives birth. Births are typically of a single young, but twins are known to occur. The young first are clasped to the belly of the mother, but later she carries them on her back. She can also hide her young in the leaves while searching for food. After about four to five months they are weaned and are fully mature after about 18 months.

Predators and defences

Pottos have relatively few predators, because large mammalian carnivores cannot climb to the treetops where they live, and the birds of prey in this part of Africa are diurnal. One population of chimpanzees living in Mont Assirik, Senegal, was observed to eat Pottos, taking them from their sleeping places during the day; however, this behaviour has not been observed in chimps elsewhere. Pottos living near villages face some predation from humans, who hunt them as bushmeat. They are sometimes harassed by African Palm Civets, although African Palm Civets are largely frugivorous.

If threatened, a Potto will hide its face and neck-butt its opponent, making use of its unusual vertebrae. Pottos can also deliver a powerful bite. Their saliva contains compounds that cause the wound to become inflamed.

The highest recorded life span for a Potto in captivity is 26 years.

Cognition and social behaviour

In a study of prosimian cognition conducted in 1964, Pottos were seen to explore and manipulate unfamiliar objects, but only when those objects were baited with food. They were found to be more curious than lorises and lesser bushbabies, but less so than lemurs. Ursula Cowgill, a biologist at Yale University who looked after six captive Pottos for several decades, noticed that they appeared to form altruistic relationships. The captive Pottos were seen to spend time with a sick companion and to save food for an absent one. However, there is no confirmation that this behaviour occurs in the wild.

Pottos in human culture

The Potto is not particularly familiar to people outside Africa, but some will know it from its appearance in Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin novels. Virginia Woolf's nickname was 'Potto,' and James Thurber sketched a Potto for a series of animal cartoons. André Gide wrote an autobiographical story entitled Dindiki ou le pérodictique potto.

References

External links

conservation status of a species is an indicator of the likelihood of that species continuing to survive either in the present day or the future. Many factors are taken into account when assessing the conservation status of a species: not simply the number remaining, but the
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Least Concern (LC) is an IUCN category assigned to extant species or lower taxa which have been evaluated but do not qualify for any other category. As such they do not qualify as threatened, nor Near Threatened, nor (prior to 2001) Conservation Dependent.
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Scientific classification or biological classification is a method by which biologists group and categorize species of organisms. Scientific classification also can be called scientific taxonomy, but should be distinguished from folk taxonomy, which lacks scientific basis.
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Chordata
Bateson, 1885

Typical Classes

See below

Chordates (phylum Chordata) are a group of animals that includes the vertebrates, together with several closely related invertebrates.
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Mammalia
Linnaeus, 1758

Subclasses & Infraclasses
  • Subclass †Allotheria*
  • Subclass Prototheria
  • Subclass Theria

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Primates
Linnaeus, 1758

Families
  • 15, See classification
A primate is any member of the biological order Primates, the group that contains all the species commonly related to the lemurs, monkeys, and apes, with the last category
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Lorisidae
Gray, 1821

Genera
Arctocebus
Perodicticus
Pseudopotto
Loris
Nycticebus

Lorisidae (or sometimes Loridae) is a family of strepsirrhine primates.
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Perodicticinae
Gray, 1870

Genera
Perodicticus
Arctocebus
Pseudopotto

Perodicticinae is the subfamily of Lorisidae that includes the four species of African primates as shown below.
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Edward Turner Bennett (January 6, 1797 - August 21, 1836) was an English zoologist and writer.

Bennett was born at Hackney and practiced as a surgeon, but his chief pursuit was always zoology.
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binomial nomenclature is the formal system of naming species. The system is also called binominal nomenclature (particularly in zoological circles), binary nomenclature (particularly in botanical circles), or the binomial classification system.
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Philipp Ludwig Statius Müller (1725 - 1776) was a German zoologist.

Statius Müller was born in Esens and was Professor of Natural Science at Erlangen. Between 1773 and 1776 he published a German translation of Linnaeus's Natursystem.
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Strepsirrhini
E. Geoffroy, 1812

Families
Cheirogaleidae
Lemuridae
Lepilemuridae
Indriidae
Daubentoniidae (Aye-aye)
Lorisidae
Galagidae

The Strepsirrhini clade is one of the two suborders of primates.
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Primates
Linnaeus, 1758

Families
  • 15, See classification
A primate is any member of the biological order Primates, the group that contains all the species commonly related to the lemurs, monkeys, and apes, with the last category
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Lorisidae
Gray, 1821

Genera
Arctocebus
Perodicticus
Pseudopotto
Loris
Nycticebus

Lorisidae (or sometimes Loridae) is a family of strepsirrhine primates.
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Arctocebus
Gray, 1863

Type species
Perodicticus calabarensis
J. A. Smith, 1860

Species
Arctocebus calabarensis
Arctocebus aureus

The angwantibos
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Arctocebus
Gray, 1863

Type species
Perodicticus calabarensis
J. A. Smith, 1860

Species
Arctocebus calabarensis
Arctocebus aureus

The angwantibos
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Pseudopotto
Schwartz, 1996

Species: P. martini

Binomial name
Pseudopotto martini
Schwartz, 1996

The False Potto (
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Africa is the world's second-largest and second most-populous continent, after Asia. At about 30,221,532 km² (11,668,545 sq mi) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area, and 20.4% of the total land area.
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Motto
"Travail, Justice, Solidarité"   (French)
"Work, Justice, Solidarity"
Anthem
Liberté   (French)
"Freedom"
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Motto
"Harambee"   (Swahili)
"Let us all pull together"
Anthem
Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu
"Oh God of All Creation"
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Motto
"For God and My Country"
Anthem
Oh Uganda, Land of Beauty


Capital Kampala

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Motto
Justice – Paix – Travail   (French)
"Justice – Peace – Work"
Anthem
Debout Congolais
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nocturnality describes sleeping during the daytime and being active at night - the opposite of the diurnal human lifestyle, and that of those animals with which we are most familiar. The intermediate crepuscular schedule (twilight activity) is also common.
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Arboreal is a word meaning "related to or resembling trees". Its meaning comes from the Latin arbor, meaning tree.

In biology, an arboreal animal is one which inhabits or spends large amounts of time in trees or bushes.
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Mammalia
Linnaeus, 1758

Subclasses & Infraclasses
  • Subclass †Allotheria*
  • Subclass Prototheria
  • Subclass Theria

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carnivore (IPA: /ˈkɑrnɪvɔər/), meaning 'meat eater' (Latin carne meaning 'flesh' and vorare
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    Accipitriformes
  • Pandionidae
  • Accipitridae
  • Sagittariidae
  • Falconiformes
  • Falconidae


A
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In animal behavior, diurnality is an animal that is active during the daytime and rests during the night. Animals that are not diurnal are either nocturnal (active at night) or crepuscular (active primarily during twilight, i.e., at dusk and dawn).
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Panina

Genus: Pan
Oken, 1816

Type species
Simia troglodytes
Blumenbach, 1775

distribution of Pan spp.

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