Chapter Index

Part A: Identification key up to species level

1) Second digit of hand short, but well-developed as in figs.1 and 2, fingers without interdigital webbing:

Fig. 1: hand of Loris
Fig. 2 hand of Nycticebus coucang
Asia, lorises
Continue under 4


  Second digit of hand reduced to a nailless tubercle or absent, some interdigital webbing (fig. 3, 4): 
Africa, pottos
Continue under 2
2) Africa, pottos:
Very small hand, second digit completely reduced, rays 3-5 partly connected by digital webbing (fig. 3), tail absent or vestigial (about 8-15 mm), long muzzle as shown in fig. 9:

Fig. 3: hand of Arctocebus

Genus Arctocebus
Key to species in preparation

More robust hand, second ray reduced to a small nailless tubercle, rays 3-5 partly connected by interdigital webbing (fig. 4), tail length 38 cm 300 mm, face as in fig. 10:

Fig. 4: hand of Perodicticus
Continue under 3
3) Vertebral spines in the nuchal region protruding through the skin (fig. 5, fig. 6 above), covered with fur mixed with longer hair; face without distinct markings such as a white median stripe, tail length 3.7-10.2 cm (Nowak, Paradiso 1983; Sanderson 1940)
Genus Perodicticus
Key to subspecies in preparation
  Tail long (in the type specimen longer than 10 cm in spite of missing distal vertebra(e), but probably still within the range valid for Perodicticus; vertebral spines shorter than in Perodicticus, see fig. 6 below (n = 1 skeleton, soft tissue not preserved, but live specimens had been mistaken for Perodicticus) (Schwartz, 1996)
Proposed genus Pseudopotto

Fig 5: location of the externally palpable tips of nuchal spines in a live potto (here in defensive posture) (fur drawn translucient)
Fig 6: vertebral columnns with nuchal spines. Above: Perodicticus. Below: proposed genus Pseudopotto.
4)  Asian lorises:
Adult head-body-length usually 18-26 cm, adult weight about 100-350 g, depending on subspecies; slender limbs (see below, fig. 7) and fingers (fig. 1); tail vestigial or absent as shown in fig. 7; facial appearance variable (see fig. 7)
Genus Loris.

(Species level: see 
slender loris key
Adult head-body-length usually about 18-38 cm, weight about 230-2000 g (may be less in starved young captive-reared animals), limbs more robust and more thickly furred (below: fig. 8 a, b), hands robust as in fig. 2 or, if slender as in fig. 1, then with dark pigmentation. Tail short, but well-developed (see below, fig. 8)
Genus Nycticebus.

Continue under 5
(See colour table)
5)  Reported head-body-length 18-29 cm, weight about 230-800 g (less in some starved young captive-reared animals), hair fine, silky. Ear rims, fingers and toes with dark pigmentation. Appearance as in fig. 8 a
Lesser or pygmy slow lorises
N. pygmaeus (proposed new species included)

Reported head-body-length 26.5-38 cm (no measurements available for small island forms), weight about 265-2000 g, hair coarse. Pigmentation of skin variable. Appearance as in fig. 8 b:
Slow lorises 
N. coucang,
N. bengalensis
and in the future previously 
N. javanicus
Key to subspecies in preparation




Sources for the figures:

Fig. 1: redrawn from a photo in Petter, Hladik 1970. Fig. 2: redrawn from Jolly 1975. Fig. 3: redrawn from Sanderson, 1940. Fig. 4: redrawn from Napier and Napier 1985 and Biegert 1959. Fig. 5: redrawn (changed) from Schwartz 1996; extent of soft tissue based on Charles-Dominique, 1977. Fig. 6: based on Kingdon 1971 and Charles-Dominique, 1977. Fig. 7: Loris specimens (different forms / subspecies), kept at Ruhr-University and Duke University Primate Center. Fig. 8: slow lorises, N. coucang: specimens of the subspecies N. c. coucang redrawn from photos by F. Wiens, and N.  bengalensis redrawn from a still video from a TV film about the Endangered Primate Rescue Center at Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam. Fig. 9: Arctocebus tail redrawn (changed) from Charles-Dominique (1977) and photos by S. Bearder, other figures redrawn from photos by S. Bearder. Fig. 10: all potto figures based on or redrawn from photos in Schultz (1971).
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Lorises and pottos: species, subspecies, local populations. Identification key Last amendment: 30 June 2004

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