Hylobates lar

KINGDOM: Animalia (Animals)

PHYLUM: Chordata (Possessing a notochord)

CLASS: Mammalia (Mammals)

ORDER: Primates

FAMILY: Hylobatidae (Gibbons)

SUB-FAMILY: Hylobatinae (Gibbons)

GENUS: Hylobates (Gibbons)

SPECIES: Hylobates lar (Lar Gibbon)

Distribution

The Lar Gibbon is native to the tropical rainforests of southern and Southeast Asia. It can be found in China, Myanmar, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Lar gibbons have a variety of fur colours and may range from black to a pale-brown. The face is black, ringed by a white fringe, and the upper hands and feet are also white. They have comically long arms and adapted shoulder joints to help them swing gracefully through the forest. Males and females look similar and are even similar in size.

Lar Gibbons inhabit primary or secondary semi-deciduous monsoon forests and tropical evergreen forests. They are tree-dwelling and very rarely come down to the forest floor as they only occupy the upper canopy.

The Lar Gibbon is an omnivore, mostly consuming fruit, but they also eat leaves, flowers and insects. Food sources are reused in order to find the ripest fruit and unripe fruit will be rejected.

These gibbons live in family groups consisting of an adult pair and their young offspring. They are mostly monogamous, partnering for life, although “divorces” and “re-marriages” have been documented, as well as polygamous relationships.

Lar Gibbons communicate by singing! They use songs to ward off other gibbons and communicate to their partner. Usually, songs are performed between sunrise and noon. Grooming is less of a social function and more of a hygenic one for this species.

Lar Gibbons are territorial and will warn other gibbons off their territory.

Gestation lasts six months after which as single offspring is usually born.

Males will not usually care for their young, whilst females will care extensively. They will be weaned at about 20 months and are mature at 8 years. Young gibbons will stay with their family group until they reach sexual maturity at about 9 years old or are chased off by their parents. The will live for approximately 30 years.

Lar Gibbons are preyed on by eagles, leopards, marbled cats, pythons and humans.

The main threats faced by lar gibbons are habitat loss due to deforestation and the illegal pet trade. They are also hunted for their meat.

Did you know?

  • Lar gibbons don’t have tails!
  • When they do come down to the ground, they walk on two legs and raise their arms above their heads
  • Gibbons have tough, bony padding on their buttocks, known as the sitting pads

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