Otolemur – Greater galagos

The weight of leg muscles makes up 25% of the overall body mass; can jump 6 to 9 times better than a frog

The genus Otolemur, comprising species commonly referred to as greater galagos or thick-tailed bushbabies, represents an intriguing group of nocturnal primates native to the African continent. Initially grouped with the smaller galagos in the genus Galago, the greater galagos were reclassified into their own genus, Otolemur, in 1979, reflecting their distinct characteristics and behaviors. This taxonomic distinction was further refined in 1986 with the recognition of the greater galago as a separate entity within Otolemur.

Greater galagos are notable for their robust size compared to other galago species, with their thick, bushy tails contributing significantly to their common name. They exhibit large, round eyes that enhance their vision in low-light conditions, a critical adaptation for their nocturnal lifestyle. Their ears are large and often mobile, allowing them to detect the faint sounds of insects and other prey in the dark.

These primates inhabit a wide range of environments across Africa, from dense forests to woodland and savannah regions. Their ability to thrive in occasionally urban areas indicates a remarkable adaptability, although this also exposes them to various anthropogenic threats, including habitat destruction and the pet trade.

Greater galagos are primarily nocturnal, spending the daylight hours in tree hollows or dense vegetation to avoid predators and the heat of the day. At night, they emerge to forage, using their acute sense of hearing to locate insects, their primary food source. Their diet also includes fruits, gum, and occasionally small vertebrates, reflecting their opportunistic feeding habits.

The locomotion of greater galagos is characterized by their powerful hind limbs, enabling them to leap significant distances between trees or branches. This agility is crucial for navigating their arboreal habitat and escaping predators.