Classification of the
Galeopterus variegatus!

Malayan colugo. Image by Nina Holopainen



Family- Cynocephalidae

Galeopterus variegatus

Domain: All organisms belong to one of three domains: Eukarya, Archea, or Bacteria. The Galeopterus variegatus belong to the domain EukarPhylogenetic tree of life. Created by Eric Gaba ya because they have a nucleus and membrane-bound organelles.

Kingdom: Organisms classified as Animalia are all multicellular and heterotrophic. Galeopterus variegatus are multicellular organisms that cannot create their own source of food, making them fall under the Animalia kingdom!                            Figure 1. Phylogenetic tree of the 3 domains and kingdoms

Phylum: Synapomorphies of the phylum Chordata include a dorsal nerve cord, visceral clefts and arches, and possession of a notochord. Visceral clefts are "pouches" that extend outwards of the pharynx with adjacent tissues that are referred to as the visceral arches (Lundberg 1995). These vary greatly among the different classes; in the Galeopterus variegatus some of these develop into parts of the skull including the jaw, facial muscles, and middle ear ossicles.  Notochords are stiff rod like elongated structures, not to be confused with backbones,that become present in embryos that are ventral to the nerve cord and help with the structure and development of embryos (Lundberg, 1995).   Mammal phylogenetic tree. Created by Fred Hsu

The class Mammalia contains three specific structures only present in mammals including hair, mammary glands, and three ear bones. The Galeopterus variegatus has all of these features.

                    Figure 2. Phylogenetic tree of the class Mammalia

The order Dermoptera is currently referred to as the flying lemur order. Members of the order Dermoptera are nocturnal gliders that live in South East Asia (Marivaux et al, 2006). A main characteristic of these "flying lemurs" is a membrane that extends from the sides of their neck to their forepaws to their hind feet allowing them to glide (Martin, 2008). Other characteristics include broad flat skulls and small teeth (Martin, 2008). Although Galeopterus variegatus are not lemurs and do not fly they are still commonly called flying lemurs!

Family: Only two extant organisms make up the family Cynocephalidae, the Galeopterus variegatus and Cynocephalus volans (Marivaux et al, 2006). As a whole they are referred to as the colugos. Out of all the Dermoptera they are the most adapted to glide with membranes that are as large as possible for their body shape (Brynes et al, 2008).

Genus & Species: The Galeopterus variegatus are called the Sundra or Malayan flying lemurs. Uniquely they are the only organism in the genus Galeopterus.

Now that we know about their classification, let’s check out their habitat