Pels anomalure

Anomalurus pelii

SUBFAMILY

Anomalurinae

TAXONOMY

Pteromys (Anomalurus) pelii (Schlegel and Muller, 1845), Dubacrom, Ghana.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Pel's scaletail; French: Ecureuil volant de Pel; German: Pel Dornschwanz-hornchen.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

The largest anomalure, Pel's all-black back and pure white belly are quite distinctive. The fur on the head is black, and the snout and fur at the bases of the ears is white. The tail is white and as long as the head and body, with a thickened brush of fur on the last half. The gliding membranes are black in some subspecies and white in others. There are six pairs of tail scales. They are especially well developed in this species.

DISTRIBUTION

Liberia to Ghana, West Africa.

HABITAT

Lowland moist rainforests only, with a preference for forests with palms and tall emergent trees.

BEHAVIOR

Dens may contain up to six animals. Highly nocturnal, A. pelii emerges only well after sunset, and is aggressive, using deep hoots as contact calls. Defensive noises include growls, hisses and tooth-chatterings, which the den hole may serve to amplify.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Supplements diet of bark with palm fruits. Observed eating leaves, twigs, and flowers of Antiaris toxicaria, an important timber tree in Ghana.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Litter size of three. Two litters a year.

CONSERVATION STATUS

The IUCN considers the species to be Lower Risk. Population in Ghana is on CITES Appendix III.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Sometimes blamed for damage to oil palm crops. ♦

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