Lemurs - Prosimians Living in Madagascar Vocabulary
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Lemurs: Tails From The Canopy

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· Lemurs: Family of 22 species of prosimians that live exclusively on the islands of Madagascar and Comoro. Most lemurs are arboreal. They live in a wide variety of habitats and feed on plants and insects. Most lemurs are long limbed. They can be diurnal or nocturnal or crepuscular. They have long, well developed tails.

· Prosimian: Sub group of the mammal order of primates. Prosimians are generally considered to be the older branch of the family and include lemurs, lorises, pottos, bush babies and tarsiers.

· Primate: An order of mammals that include prosimians, monkeys, apes and humans. All have well developed binocular vision, and prehensile digits (fingers and toes).

· Madagascar: Island nation in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Africa. Fourth largest island in the world. Many of the native plants and animals are unique to the island.

· Habitat: The natural home of an organism.

· Ecosystem: A community of organisms and the physical environment in which they interact.

· Fossa: The largest carnivore on Madagascar most closely related to the mongoose. Chief predator of many species of lemur.

· Predator: An animal that feeds on other animals.

· Arboreal: “Tree dwelling” Animals that spend most of their lives in the trees are arboreal.

· Terrestrial: “Ground dwelling” Animals that spend most of their lives on the ground are terrestrial.

· Olfaction: The sense of smell.

· Sexual Dimorphism: Differences in physical characteristics due to gender. Example: Male gorillas are much larger than female gorillas…. In this species size is a sexually dimorphic characteristic. In Mallard ducks, feather colouration is a sexually dimorphic characteristic. Not all Lemurs are sexually dimorphic but in Black Lemurs only the male is black; the female is primarily brown.

· Species: Plants or animals with clearly defined characteristics that can interbreed and produce viable (non sterile) offspring.

· Subspecies: Plants or animals that genetically belong to a particular species but are distinct in geographic area, culture or minor physical variation

· Prehensile: Capable of grasping.

· Mandible: The jaw. In mammals and fish it usually refers to the lower jaw, in birds it refers to upper and lower beak, and in arthropods, to the entire mouth.

· Diurnal: Active during the day

· Nocturnal: Active at night

· Crepuscular: Most active at dawn and dusk

· Gestation: The process of being carried in the womb. In biological terms a gestation period is the time between conception and birth.

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Lemurs Madagascar