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Department of Social Sciences
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Phone number: +44 (0)1865 484938
I have been the Lab Technician for the Primate Conservation MSc since 2010. I am an active research member of the Nocturnal Primate Research Group and the Oxford Wildlife Trade Research Group, both based here at Oxford Brookes University. My research mainly focuses on the nocturnal primates of Africa and the Neotropics. I am also interested in wildlife trade research, including monitoring the illegal trade in ivory and pangolins but also in primates.
Comparative behavioural research reveals both intra- and inter-species diversity among primates. Few long-term behavioural studies have been conducted on African nocturnal primates. Here we describe and compare behavioural and ecological observations on two species of pottos (Perodicticus ibeanus and P. edwardsi) across ten sites. We observed a total of 51 P. edwardsi and 28 P. ibeanus. We recorded all 21 postures within an established lorisid ethogram, as well as 42 of 50 behaviours. Eating, locomotion, freezing, resting and sniffing were the most common behaviours. We recorded behaviours not previously described for perodicticines, including bark chewing and unique vocalisations. Three species of pottos are now recognised, with potentially more species to be revealed within this cryptic and nocturnal genus. Although there are similarities among potto species, we show that unique ecological adaptations and behaviours may further elucidate their diversity.
Despite a large geographic distribution, the African nocturnal perodicticines, pottos (Perodicticus) and angwantibos (Arctocebus ) remain amongst the least studied primate taxa. Only two one-year field studies have been conducted on pottos, with only circumstantial data onangwantibos, coming from field data on shot animals. Through a meta-analysis, based on published literature and unpublished reports, we here review recent skeletal and genetic evidence that point to five species, and indicate far more diversity: Perodicticus potto, P. Ibeanus, P. edwardsi, Arctocebus aureus, A. calabarensis. Pelage colour, dorsal markings and tail characteristics (for pottos) supplement the genetic data that suggest these comprise distinct taxa. Arctocebus ranges from Nigeria and Cameroon in the north to Gabon and Congo in the south, whilst Perodicticus is more widespread, having a combined distribution that encompasses a large portion of central and western Africa. Despite this large range, only nine surveys with any substantial effort have been published in the last twenty years from only five range countries; two re-ported new taxa (P. p. stockleyi and P. p. juju). Although not included in abundance counts,pottos frequently appear in bushmeat reports throughout their range, suggesting this is a realthreat to this cryptic, easy-to-catch primate. Despite an almost complete dearth of knowledgeabout these taxa, all perodicticine taxa are listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as Least Concern, with, contradictorily, only the reasonably studied P. p. stockleyi as Data Deficient. The situation of these primates is mirrored in zoos. No Arctocebus are kept in European zoos, with only 17 Perodicticus in ISIS institutions. Their taxonomy is uncertain, breeding rates are poor and infant mortality is high. Clearly the perodictines offer an open frontier for both in situ and ex situ studies. We certainly do not have the data to assess their conservation status yet.