Black vs White Sifakas
Sifakas are a distinctive group of primates found only in the island of Madagascar. There are nine species of sifakas including black coloured and white coloured species. However, the Perrier’s Sifaka is completely black in colour while the Silky Sifaka is white in colouration, and this article will discuss the characteristics of those two animals, before getting into the comparison between characteristics of the two animals.
Perrier’s sifaka is a black coloured and medium sized primate living exclusively in the fascinating island of Madagascar. Perrier’s sifaka is a point endemic species, i.e. they are found only in one particular place of the world, around Irodo River and Lokia River of North-Eastern Madagascar. According to the IUCN red lists, this species is listed as Critically Endangered and places amongst the 25 most endangered animals. Additionally, Perrier’s sifaka is the least studied, mostly threatened, and rarest of all the sifakas according to some authors. They measure about 45 – 50 centimetres from head to the base of the tail and the weight is about 3 – 6 kilograms. Their tail is considerably long about 40 – 45 centimetres. Perrier’s sifaka has been recorded from dry deciduous forests as well as from semi-humid forests of the North-Eastern Madagascar. The whole body except the face is covered with long and silky black colour fur. The eyes are large and black, and all these collectively make a fully black sifaka. They prefer an arboreal life and mostly active during daytime. Perrier’s sifakas are excellent climbers and good in leaping through trees and branches like other sifakas. They live in small groups with 2 – 6 members and the group has a particular area or a range of about 30 hectares that has been marked using their scent glands. Perrier’s are herbivorous sifakas and their food may include unripe fruits, leaf petioles, flowers, and young shoot, according to the seasonal availability.
Silky sifaka is a fully white coloured medium sized primate with an exclusive and small range of distribution in Madagascar. According to IUCN, silky sifaka is a Critically Endangered species, and it is included into the pool of top five most endangered sifakas. Their body length is about 48 – 54 centimetres, and the tail is almost about the length of the body. With the length of the tail, it usually exceeds 100 centimetres. Usually, their bodyweights are about 5 – 6.5 kilograms in adults. The coat of fur is completely white in colour, and the males have a prominent dark coloured patch on the chest due to scent marking. The fur cover is everywhere except on the face. The skin pigmentation is usually black, but it could vary among different individuals from pink to black. The snout is slightly elongated than in some sifakas. They have varied social structures in their habitats including male-female pairs, one male groups, and multi male or multi female groups. Additionally, these groups could have members up to nine numbers. The range of one particular group varies around 34 – 47 hectares.
What is the difference between Black Sifaka and White Sifaka?
• As the common English names depict, white sifaka has white fur and black sifaka has black fur.
• The skin pigmentation varies in white sifaka while black sifaka has completely black colour skins.
• The male silky sifakas are easy to distinguish due to their prominent dark coloured patch on the chest, but it would be slightly difficult to sort the sexes in Perrier’s sifakas.
• White sifaka is slightly larger than black sifakas.
• Groups of white sifakas may contain more members than in groups of black sifakas.
• The territory size is larger in white sifaka compared to black sifaka home range.