Mammalian Biology

, Volume 95, Issue 1, pp 164–172 | Cite as

Foot postures and grasping of free-ranging Sunda colugos (Galeopterus variegatus) in West Java, Indonesia

  • Dionisios YoulatosEmail author
  • Kanthi Arum Widayati
  • Yamato Tsuji
Original investigation


Colugos (order Dermoptera) are medium-sized nocturnal arboreal eutherian euarchontan mammals, which glide, climb vertically and hang from different arboreal substrates in the rainforests of Southeast Asia. Their close phylogenetic position to either Primates (as Primatomorpha) or Scandentia (as Sundatheria) renders them significant for understanding evolutionary-adaptive trends of key features within the Euarchonta (primates, scandentia, dermoptera, and plesiadapiformes). In this context, we studied foot positional, postural, and grasping patterns in relation to substrate use in free-ranging Sunda colugos (Galeopterus variegatus) in west Java, Indonesia. On large, strongly inclined substrates, colugos primarily used claw climbing and clinging activities, with a dorsiflexed, abducted, and everted foot using an abducted clawed grasp and abducted hallux. On small, less inclined substrates, colugos habitually used suspensory locomotion and postures with pedal plantarflexion, adduction, inversion, and an adducted clawed grasp and adducted hallux. The morphofunctional similarity of the colugo foot with that of early euarchontans suggests comparable behaviors at the base of euarchontan evolution. Furthermore, the functional-adaptive significance of these behaviors is further investigated under different phylogenetic scenarios, linking dermopterans to either scandentians or primates. Our findings underscore the importance of similar behavioral studies for examining functional-adaptive evolutionary scenarios.


Dermoptera Euarchonta Evolution Locomotion Pedal grasp 


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Copyright information

© Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dionisios Youlatos
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kanthi Arum Widayati
    • 2
  • Yamato Tsuji
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyAristole University of Thessaloniki, School of BiologyThessalonikiGreece
  2. 2.JL Meranti Kampas Dramaga, BogorBogor Agricultural UniversityJavaIndonesia
  3. 3.Primate Research InstituteKyoto UniversityInuyama, AichiJapan

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