The penile morphologies of nocturnal prosimians are complex and vary considerably between genera and species. Accordingly, comparative morphology can be useful in taxonomic studies, particularly when assessing the status of newly discovered species. I measured features of penile morphology—surface area of the glans penis; shape and size of the keratinized spines on the glans—for populations representing 14 species within the subfamily Galagoninae. Intraspecific variations in penile morphology were relatively minor. By contrast, there are significant differences in several morphological features among closely related, sympatric species, e.g., in the greater bush babies (Otolemur crassicaudatus and O. garnettii) and lesser bush babies (Galago senegalensis and Galago moholi). Assessment of glans area resulted in the recognition of a second needle-clawed form: Euoticus pallidus. Similar divisions exist in the dwarf and greater bush babies with respect to proportional spiny area and characteristics of spine size. I constructed a key based on the presence/absence of certain features—penile spines, dermal markings on the glans, penile lappets—as well as the shape of the baculum and possession of different spinal morphotypes. This key may be used to identify all 14 species of bush babies. Penile morphologies provide a useful guide to specific identity in the Galagoninae, which may be true also for other groups of nocturnal mammals.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Anderson, M. J. (1998). Comparative morphology and speciation in galagos. Folia Primatalogica 69(suppl 1): 325–331.
Anderson, M. J. (1999). The use of hand morphology in the taxonomy of galagos. Primates 40 (3): 469–478.
Bearder, S. K. (1987). Lorises, bushbabies, and tarsiers: Diverse societies in solitary foragers. In Primate Societies. (eds. B. B. Smuts et al.), pp. 11-24. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London.
Bearder, S. K. and Doyle, G. A. (1974). Ecology of bushbabies, Galago senegalensis and Galago crassicaudatus, with some notes on their behaviour in the field. In Prosimian Biology (eds. R. D. Martin, G. A. Doyle and A. C. Walker), pp. 109-130. Duckworth, London.
Bearder, S. K., Honess, P. E., and Ambrose, L. (1995). Species diversity among galagos with special reference to mate recognition. In Creatures of the Dark: the Nocturnal Prosimians (eds L. Alterman, G. A. Doyle, and M. K. Izard), pp. 331-352. Plenum Press, New York.
Charles-Dominique, P. (1977). Ecology and Behaviour of Nocturnal Primates. Duckworth, London.
Darwin, C. (1871). The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex. John Murray, London.
Dixson, A. F. (1987a). Observations on the evolution of the genitalia and copulatory behaviour in male primates. J. Zool. Lond. 213: 423–443.
Dixson, A. F. (1987b). Baculum length and copulatory behavior in primates. Am. J. Primatol. 13: 51–60.
Dixson, A. F. (1989). Sexual selection, genital morphology and copulatory behaviour in male galagos. Int. J. Primatol. 10: 47–55.
Dixson, A. F. (1991). Sexual selection, natural selection and copulatory patterns in male primates. Folia Primatol. 57: 96–101.
Dixson, A. F. (1995). Sexual selection and the evolution of copulatory behaviour in nocturnal prosimians. In Creatures of the Dark: The Nocturnal Prosimians (eds. L. Alterman, G. A. Doyle and M. K. Izard), pp. 93-118. Plenum, New York.
Eberhard, W. G. (1985). Sexual Selection and Animal Genitalia. Harvard University Press, Massachusetts and London.
Eberhard, W. G. (1996). Female Control: Sexual Selection by Cryptic Female Choice. Princeton University Press, New Jersey.
Eberhard, W. G. (1998). Female roles in sperm competition. In Sperm Competition and Sexual Selection (eds. T. E. Birkhead and A. P. Mø ller), pp. 91-116. Academic Press, California.
Fooden, J. (1976). Provisional classification and key to living species of macaques (Primates: Macaca). Folia Primatol. 25: 225–236.
Groves, C. (1989). A Theory of Human and Primate Evolution. Oxford University Press, New York.
Groves, C. (1993). Order Primates. In Mammalian Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (eds. Wilson, D. E., and Reader, D. M.), pp. 243-277. Smithsonian Institute Press, Washington, D.C.
Hill, W. C. O. (1953). Primates, Comparative Anatomy and Taxonomy, Vol. 1. Strepsirhini. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh
Hill, W. C. O. (1958). External genitalia. In Primatologica, Vol. 3(eds. Hofer, H., Schultz, A., and Starck, D.), pp. 630-704. Karger, Basel.
Jenkins, P. D. (1987). Catalogue of Primates in the British Museum (Natural History). Part IV. Chippenham, Antony Rowe.
Jungers, W. L., and Olson, T. R. (1985). Relative brain size in galagos and lorises. In Vertebrate Morphology (eds. Duncker and Fleischer). G. Fischer Verlag, New York.
Kingdon, J. (1997). The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals. Academic Press, California.
Nash, L., Bearder, S. K., and Olson, T. R. (1989). Synopsis of Galago species characteristics. Int. J. Primatol. 10: 57–80.
Napier, J. R., and Napier, P. H. (1967). A Handbook of the Living Primates: Morphology, Ecology, and Behaviour of Nonhuman Primates. Academic Press, London.
Rowe, N. (1996). A Pictorial Guide to the Living Primates. Pogonias Press, New Hampton, New York.
Smith, R. J., and Jungers, W. L. (1997). Body mass in comparative primatology. Journal of Human Evolution, 32: 523–559.
Zar, J. R. (1974). Biostatistical Analysis. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.
About this article
Cite this article
Anderson, M.J... Penile Morphology and Classification of Bush Babies (Subfamily Galagoninae). International Journal of Primatology 21, 815–836 (2000). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1005542609002
- bush baby