Beecrofts anomalure

Anomalurus beecrofti

SUBFAMILY

Anomalurinae

TAXONOMY

Anomalurus beecrofti Fraser, 1853, Bioko, Equatorial Guinea. This species is sometimes placed in its own genus Anomalurops, which means "closely resembling Anomalurus." It was named for John Beecroft, an Englishman who was made Governor by the Spanish of their colonial possession of Fernando Po.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Narrow-snouted scalytail; French: Ecureuil volant de Beecroft; German: Beecroft Dornschwanz-hornchen.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Snout, and head generally, markedly narrower than other anomalures. Tail proportionately much shorter and narrower than other species of anomalure. Tail has nine pairs of tail scales. A species with a wide range and corresponding geographical variation. Dorsal colors range from gray to rich red or orange. The belly is always some shade of orange-yellow and the head always has a white spot (of variable size) in the middle of the forehead.

DISTRIBUTION

Southern Senegal to eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.

HABITAT

Rainforest, from sea level to 8,200 ft (2,500 m). Also cultivated palm groves and disturbed land if some big trees remain.

BEHAVIOR

Probably a species that, in undisturbed forest, makes use of natural tree falls and the palms that grow up in them. Much less dependent on deep forest than the other anomalures, this species can occur in agricultural areas. Quite often active during the day. Females with young build nests of leaves in tree holes. Males and non-reproducing females may hide during the day beneath large branches or at the basal junction of a palm's frond and trunk, or may crouch flat against a trunk. Members of this species may take palm nuts back to the den to peel and eat.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Less dependent on bark than other anomalures. Though eaten, bark is less important than fruits (especially those of palms). Some leaves and insects are also eaten.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Not known. A female with a single embryo has been collected.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not considered to be threatened. Population in Ghana is on CITES Appendix III.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Occasionally blamed for loss of palm fruits, but not hunted punitively. ♦

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