Using Facial Markings to Unmask Diversity: The Slow Lorises (Primates: Lorisidae: Nycticebus spp.) of Indonesia

Part of the Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects book series (DIPR)


The slow lorises (Nycticebus) are the only strepsirrhine primates found in Indonesia (Nekaris and Bearder 2007). In addition to features such as a toothcomb and moist nose, these small nocturnal primates were given their name based on their trademark steady, stealthy, and fluid locomotion. Morphologically incapable of leaping (Sellers 1996), slow lorises rather slither through the treetops, and if startled, they may freeze or even cover their face, resulting in one of their many Indonesian names, malu malu or “the shy one” (Supriatna and Wahyono 2000). Alternatively, they can fleetingly but silently escape, resulting in the name buah angin or “wind monkey” in Acehnese (Nekaris and Nijman 2007a). One of two genera of nocturnal primates found in Indonesia (the other being Tarsius), slow lorises are a unique part of Indonesian primate communities, and are widely spread on at least 27 of Indonesia’s islands, including Borneo, Sumatra, and Java (Table 22.1) (Nijman and Nekaris in press). Despite this, studies of Indonesian slow lorises are in their infancy.


Facial Mask Loud Call Facial Character Slow Life History Nocturnal Primate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank S. Gursky and J. Supriatna for inviting us to contribute to this volume. We are grateful to the following individuals for access to and help with their zoological collections: H. van Grouw (Naturalis Leiden), D. Hill and P. Jenkins (Natural History Museum London), W. Stanley (Field Museum of Natural History Chciago), A. Rol and V. Nijman (Zoological Museum Amsterdam), and M. Nowak-Kemp (Natural History Museum Oxford). Others who have and are continuing to assist with this project include: J. Ariosona, S. Bearder, M. Bruford, B. Goossens, F. den Haas, F. Jalil, A. Knight, K. L. Sanchez, and I. Winarti. H. Schulze provided the loris figures, and the map was adapted from one produced by J. Thorn. We thank K. Wells for the photo of the ever elusive N. menagensis. C. Groves, H. Schulze, and V. Nijman provided valuable comments on the manuscript. Funding was provided by the Systematics Research Fund of the Linnaean Society, Primate Conservation Inc, International Animal Rescue Indonesia, the Royal Society, and Oxford Brookes University Research Strategy Fund. This research received support from the SYNTHESYS Project, which is financed by European Community Research Infrastructure Action under the FP6 “Structuring the European Research Area” Programme (NL-TAF-3491).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nocturnal Primate Research Group, School of Social Sciences and Law, Oxford Brookes UniversityOxfordUK

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