The silky sifaka wasn’t recognised as a separate species until the 2000s, previously being classified as a subspecies of the diademed sifaka.
Lemurs are part of a group of the most basal living primates, and have evolved independently on Madagascar for 50-60 million years. As silky sifakas age, individuals lose skin pigment, leading to totally pink faces in extreme cases. Like most other lemurs, they are highly social, living in various social structures; male-female pairs, one-male groups, and multi-male/multi-female groups. They have a repertoire of seven adult calls, vocalising frequently with members of the group, and like other lemurs, they also prevalently use scent communication. While some lemur species are spared from human hunting because they are fady (taboo), the silky sifaka is not among them, and hunting poses a key threat. Habitat destruction and degradation are also very important, with slash-and-burn-agriculture and illegal logging reducing and fragmenting the restricted ranges of the silky sifaka.
- Order: Primates
- Family: Indriidae
- Population: <250
- Trend: decreasing
- Size: 48-54cm
- Weight: 5-6.5kg
This species’ have a very restricted range in north-eastern Madagascar, however the precise limits of its distribution are unknown, though they are patchily distributed.
Habitat and Ecology
The silky sifaka mainly inhabits tropical moist montane forest. Their diet consists of over 100 species of tree, vine and epiphytic/parasitic plants, feeding mainly on their leaves and seeds, but also on fruits, flowers and stems.