Potto

Perodicticus potto

SUBFAMILY

Perodictinae

TAXONOMY

Perodicticus potto (Müller, 1766), Elmina, Ghana. Three subspecies recognized. It is likely that there are several cryptic potto species that will be recognized once a thorough review has been conducted.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Potto de Bosman; German: Potto.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Fur dark brown dorsally and paler brown ventrally. Second finger and toe even more reduced than in lorisines. There are long processes on most of the neck vertebrae and on the first two thoracic vertebrae. The shoulder region is covered by a protective scapular shield through which the vertebral spines protrude. Head and body length: 15 in (37.5 cm); tail length: 2.5 in (6.5 cm). Body mass: males 2 lb 12 oz (1,250 g); females 2 lb 11 oz (1,210 g).

DISTRIBUTION

Equatorial Africa, from Nigeria in the west to western regions of Uganda and Kenya in the east. Range includes Sierra Leone, Ghana, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Congo-Brazzaville, and Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaïre).

HABITAT

Evergreen tropical rainforests of equatorial Africa, both primary and secondary, and wooded savanna.

BEHAVIOR

Nocturnal and fully arboreal. Generally cryptic, with ponderous, slow-moving locomotion. Responds to predators by presenting its upper back region, which is protected by a scapular shield and long vertebral spines. Individuals forage solitarily, but an adult male may have social contact with one or more females through range overlap. No nests are constructed; individuals simply sleep in dense foliage.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Feeds primarily on fruits, but complements its diet with arthropods (mainly insects) and gums. Particularly consumes insects that are generally unpalatable, such as ants.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

May be polygamous. Typically gives birth to a single infant. Gestation period 193 days.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Relatively common and not immediately threatened, although it is possible that there are several potto species, some of which may be threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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