Vol. 50 No. 6, 2011
Substrate Use and Locomotor Modes of the Neotropical Pygmy Squirrel Sciurillus pusillus (E. Geoffroy, 1803) in French Guyana
Department of Zoology, School of Biology, Aristotle Univ. of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki GR-51424, Greece
Dionisios Youlatos (2011) The Neotropical pygmy squirrel Sciurillus pusillus
is the smallest South American squirrel. This primitive sciurid is
rarely encountered and exhibits morphological and behavioral
specializations related to bark gleaning and bark and/or exudate
feeding. The present account reports the 1st quantitative data on
substrate use and locomotor patterns of S. pusillus from a high terra-firme forest in French Guyana. S. pusillus
made extensive use of medium vertical supports. The most frequent
locomotor modes were claw-climbing and reversion, an orthograde
airborne switching mode. Quadrupedalism was used to a lesser extent.
The behavioral repertoire of S. pusillus
was examined in light of its postcranial morphological features.
Together, they suggest a large degree of vertical trunk foraging for
bark and/or exudates similar to what was reported for other pygmy
squirrels in Africa and Asia. More-detailed studies are required to
elucidate these patterns of morphological convergence in pygmy
squirrels across tropical forests worldwide.
Key words: Sciuridae, French Guyana, Locomotion, Neotropical pygmy squirrel, Sciurillus pusillus.
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