SIFAKA, apparently the name of certain large Malagasy lemurs nearly allied to the INDRI (q.v.) but distinguished by their longtails, and hence referred to a genus apart Propithecus, of which three species, with several local races, are recognized. Sifakas are very variable in colouring, but always show a large amount of white. They associate in parties and are mainly arboreal, leaping from bough to bough with an agility that suggests flying through the air. When on the ground, to pass from one clump of trees to another, they do not run on all fours, but stand erect, The Crowned Sifaka (Propithecus diadema coronatus). From Milne-Edwards and Grandidier.
and throwing their arms above their heads, progress by a series of short jumps, producing an effect which is described by travellers as exceedingly ludicrous. They are not nocturnal, but most active in the morning and evening, remaining seated or curled up among the branches during the heat of the day. In disposition they are quiet and gentle, and do not show much intelligence; they are also less noisy than the true lemurs, only when alarmed or angered making a noise which has been compared to the clucking of a fowl. Like all their kindred they produce only one offspring at a birth (see PRIMATES). (R. L.*)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)