Red Slender Loris

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L. tardigradus nordicus - Northern Dry Zone Slender Loris[3]
L. tardigradus nycticeboides (Hill, 1942) - Horton Plains Slender Loris
L. tardigradus tardigradus (L., 1758) - Dry Zone Slender Loris

The Red Slender Loris (Loris tardigradus) is a small, nocturnal prosimian native to the rainforests of Sri Lanka. This is #6 of the 10 focal species and #22 of the 100 EDGE mammal species worldwide considered the most Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered.[4] Two subspecies have been identified, L. t. tardigradus and L. t. nycticeboides.[1]

Contents

Physical description

This small, slender primate is distinguished with large forward facing eyes used for precise depth perception, long slender limbs, a well developed index finger, the absence of tail, and large prominent ears, which are thin, rounded and hairless at the edges. The soft dense fur is reddish-brown color on the back and the underside is whitish-grey with a sprinkling of silver hair. Its body length on average is 7–10 in (180–250 mm), with an average weight of a mere 3–13 oz (85–370 g). This loris has a four way grip on each foot. The big toe opposes the other 4 toes for a pincer like grip on branches and food. It has a dark face mask with central pale stripe, much like the slow lorises.

Behavior

The Red Slender Loris favors lowland rainforests (up to 700 m in altitude), tropical rainforests and inter-monsoon forests of the south western wet-zone of Sri Lanka. Masmullah Proposed Forest Reserve harbors one of few remaining Red Slender Loris populations, and is considered a biodiversity hotspot. The most common plant species eaten was Humboldtia laurifolia, occurring at 676 trees/ha, with overall density at 1077 trees/ha. Humboldtia laurifolia is vulnerable and has a mutualistic relationship with ants, providing abundant food for lorises.[5] Reports from the 1960s suggest that it once also occurred in the coastal zone, however it is now thought to be extinct there.

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