COME FLY WITH ME
CORRECTION – COME GLIDE WITH ME!
I learn something new about life on this planet every single day. This past week I was introduced to a creature called the Colugo. This little guy is fascinating. So this week I thought I would share what I’ve learned with you. Let’s talk ‘Colugo.’
The Philippine Flying Lemur (http://www.arkive.org/philippine-flying-lemur/cynocephalus-volans/)
The Colugo is a mammal that lives in the tropical jungles of Southeast Asia; Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore. It is arboreal, which means it spends its life entirely in the trees.
There are two species of Colugo, the Malayan Colugo and the Philippine Flying Lemur. The flying lemur would like you to think that he can fly, but neither he nor the Malayan Colugo can do so. What they do is glide! I think David Attenborough said it best - “It’s a colugo or ‘flying lemur’, though this is something of a misnomer, as it doesn’t actually fly, and it certainly isn’t a lemur. In fact, nobody’s quite sure who its closest relative is.”
The wings, or membrane that help these animals glide is called a patagium. The patagium stretches from the sides of their neck to the tip of their fingers and toes. And it can be as wide as twenty-seven inches. In essence, this membrane turns this interesting mammal into a living kite. Once he launches himself from a tree, the Colugo can glide more than 325 feet. That’s pretty amazing for an animal, which can grow to fifteen inches in length and weigh about three pounds. Unlike some of the other flying mammals, the Colugo is in a class by itself. The class is called Dermoptera, which means ‘skin-wings’.
The Colugo is nocturnal and will glide from tree to tree searching for young leaves to eat. It will also eat flowers, buds, and an occasional soft fruit.
Photo credit: Flickr (http://www.zmescience.com/science/biology/colugo-flying-lemur-0423423/)
Colugo babies are born after only 60 days of gestation, which means that they are undeveloped, much like the marsupials of Australia. However, Colugos do not have a pouch and the baby must cling to the mother’s stomach until six months of age. That’s a baby in the above picture. Isn’t he cute!
Photo Credit: http://www.ecologyasia.com/verts/mammals/colugo.htm
Although the Philippine Flying Lemur is not endangered, its habitat is being diminished by human encroachment for logging and agriculture. Colugos are also hunted for their fur and for food.
I am posting two videos for you this week. The first one is a BBC video and it shows you the Colugo gliding at nighttime. The second video is from National Geographic, and I have added this one because you will see the Colugo during the day, and what’s more, you will actually glide with him.
I hope you enjoyed learning about the Colugo. This baby Colugo says ‘thanks so much for stopping by.’ Please leave a comment and share.
Photo Credit: ZME Science (http://www.zmescience.com/science/biology/colugo-flying-lemur-0423423/
Jeanne E. Rogers, Award Winning Author
The Sword of Demelza and The Gift of Sunderland
Middle Grade Fantasy Where Endangered Animal Heroes Roam the Pages!
References and Citations:
Catchpoole, David. “The Colugo Challenge.” Creation. © April 2011 June 22, 2015.
Ecology Asia. “Colugo or Flying Lemur.” Ecology Asia. June 22, 2015
Amsel, Sheri. “Mammalia.” Colugo. Exploring Nature Educational Resource. © 2005-2015. June 22, 2015. http://www.exploringnature.org/db/detail.php?dbID=43&detID=949
The Book of Dermoptera. “The Book of Beasts Documenting the Wonders of the Animal World.” https://bookofbeasts.wordpress.com/tag/colugo/
Puiu, Tibi. ZME Science. “Colugo (flying lemur): the most accomplished and cutest mammalian glider.” http://www.zmescience.com/science/biology/colugo-flying-lemur-0423423/#ixzz3doDzo5Ww