Galago - Encyclopedia

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GALAGO, the Senegal name of the long-tailed African representatives of the lemur-like Primates, which has been adopted as their technical designation. Till recently the galagos have been included in the family Lemuridae; but this is restricted to the lemurs of Madagascar, and they are now classed with the lorises and pottos in the family Nycticebidae, of which they form the section Galaginae, characterized by the great elongation of the upper portion of the feet (tarsus) and the power of folding the large ears. Throughout the greater part of Africa south of the Sahara galagos are widely distributed in the wooded districts, from Senegambia in the west to Abyssinia in the east, and as far south as Natal. They pass the day in sleep, but are very active at night, feeding on fruits, insects and small birds. When they descend to the ground they sit upright, and move about by jumping with their hind-legs like jerboas. They are pretty little animals, varying from the size of a small cat to less than that of a rat, with large eyes and ears, soft woolly fur and long tails. There are several species, of which G. crassicaudatus from Mozambique is the largest; together with G. garnetti of Natal, G. agisymbanus of Zanzibar, and G. monteiroi of Angola, this represents the subgenus Otolemur. The typical group includes G. senegalensis (or galago) of Senegal, G. alleni of West and Central Africa, and G. moholi of South Africa; while G. demidoffi of West and Central Africa and G. anomurus of French Congoland represent the subgenus Hemigalago. (R. L.*)

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