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From Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary
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noun, plural: lorises

Any of the strepsirrhine primates belonging to the subfamily Lorinae of the family Lorisidae


In the family Lorisidae, there are two subfamilies: the Perodicticinae (pottos and angwantibos) and the Lorinae (i.e. lorises). The lorises are strepsirrhine primate. The family Lorisidae belongs to the suborder Strepsirrhi (strepsirrhines). As a strepsirrhine, lorises are therefore characterized by possessing rhinarium (wet nose), a brain that is smaller in size relative to their body, large olfactory lobes, a vomeronasal organ, and a bicornuate uterus with an epitheliochordial placenta. They have round heads, large eyes, short ears, a snout, a grooming claw, and a vestigial tail. They have a gland that releases an oily secretion that they use for defense against predators. They lick this gland on their arm to mix with their saliva and produce a toxin. Thus, their bite becomes toxic, deterring potential predators. They also use this toxin to groom their young. They lick the fur of their infants during infant parking, i.e. leaving infants in nests.

Lorises inhabit the tropical and forests of India, Sri Lanka, and certain parts of Souteast Asia. They are arboreal and nocturnal. They feed on insects and slugs as well as fruits, leaves, and gums in their diet.

Lorises include the following genera: Loris and Nycticebus. The genus Loris includes the slender lorises whereas the genus Nycticebus includes the slow lorises. The slender lorises are exemplified by the species Loris lydekkerianus (gray slender loris) and Loris tardigradus (red slender loris). The slow lorises include species such as N. bancanus (Bangka slow loris), N. bengalensis (Bengal slow loris), N. borneanus (Bornean slow loris), N. coucang (Sunda slow loris), N. javanicus (Javan slow loris), N. menagensis (Philippine slow loris), etc.

Scientific classification:

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Primates
  • Suborder: Strepsirrhini
  • Family: Lorisidae
  • Subfamily: Lorinae [Gray, 1821]

See also: