colugo n : arboreal nocturnal mammal of southeast Asia and the Philippines resembling a lemur and having a fold of skin on each side from neck to tail that is used for long gliding leaps [syn: flying lemur, flying cat]
Colugos are arboreal gliding mammals found in South-east Asia. There are just two extant species, each in its own genus,
Their most distinctive feature, however, is the membrane of skin that extends between their limbs and gives them the ability to glide long distances between trees. Of all the gliding mammals, the colugos have the most extensive adaptation to flight. Their gliding membrane, or patagium, is as large as is geometrically possible: it runs from the shoulder blades to the fore-paw, from the tip of the rear-most finger to the tip of the toes, and from the hind legs to the tip of the tail; unlike in other known gliding mammals even the spaces between the fingers and toes are webbed to increase the total surface area, as in the wings of bats. As a result, colugos were traditionally considered being close to the ancestors of bats, but are now usually seen as the closest living relatives to primates.
They are surprisingly clumsy climbers. Lacking opposable thumbs and not being especially strong, they proceed upwards in a series of slow hops, gripping onto the bark of trees with their small, sharp claws. They are as comfortable hanging underneath a branch as sitting on top of it. In the air, however, they are very capable, and can glide as far as 70 metres (230 feet) from one tree to another with minimal loss of height.
Colugos are shy, nocturnal, and restricted to the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia. In consequence, remarkably little is known about their habits, although they are believed to be generally solitary, except for mothers nursing young. They are certainly herbivores, and are thought to eat mostly leaves, shoots, flowers and sap, and probably fruit as well. They have well-developed stomachs and long intestines, capable of extracting nutriment from leaves.
The incisor teeth of colugos are highly distinctive; they are comb-like in shape, with up to twenty tines on each tooth. The second upper incisors have two roots, another unique feature among mammals
Recent molecular phylogenetic studies have demonstrated that colugos belong to the clade Euarchonta along with the treeshrews (order Scandentia) and the primates. In this taxonomy, the Euarchonta are sister to the Glires (lagomorphs and rodents), and the two groups are combined into the clade Euarchontoglires.
SynonymsThe names Colugidae, Galeopithecidae and Galeopteridae are synonyms for Cynocephalidae. Colugo, Dermopterus, Galeolemur, Galeopithecus, Galeopus, and Pleuropterus are synonyms for Cynocephalus.
colugo in Danish: Kaguanger
colugo in German: Riesengleiter
colugo in Spanish: Dermoptera
colugo in Hebrew: גלשנאים
colugo in Malay (macrolanguage): Kubung
colugo in Dutch: Vliegende katten
colugo in Norwegian: Skjermflygere
colugo in Polish: Lotokotowate
colugo in Portuguese: Colugos
colugo in Slovak: Letuchovité
colugo in Sundanese: Tando
colugo in Swedish: P%C3%A4lsfladdrare
colugo in Finnish: Kaguaanit
colugo in Thai: บ่าง
colugo in Chinese: 皮翼目