Gibbons vs Siamang
Gibbon and siamang are very closely related primates with much alike features shared between them. Therefore, it would be beneficial to go through some of their characteristics to understand these interesting animals. However, siamang is one of the species of gibbons, and this article precisely and concisely describes the general characteristics of gibbons and particular characteristics of siamang. In addition, the presented comparison at the end would convince the reader for a sound knowledge about how to differentiate a siamang from gibbons.
Gibbons are an interesting group of primates of the taxonomic Family: Hylobatidae. They are naturally ranging mainly in the Southeast Asia, and some species are found in North East India and Bangladesh. There are sixteen species with many geographically isolated subspecies, described under four different genera. The main four genera were based on the number of diploid chromosomes that vary between thirty-eight and fifty-two. Gibbons are excellent tree climbers and live on trees more often than not. They move between trees by leaping from one to the other with ease. They can even reach branches that are 15 metres away. Interestingly, these jumps are highly speedy and measure up to 55 kilometres per hour. As some authors quote, gibbons rank first in the list of fastest non-flying arboreal mammals. They vary in their colouration mainly among species, but the males and females also differ in colour. Their ball and socket joint at the wrist makes them efficient arboreal animals. However, they can walk on the ground with their arms held up to maintain the balance. They can make loud calls from their throat sac, which could be as large as their heads sometimes. It has been observed that they make solo calls to attract females. They live in small groups with about 2 – 6 individuals; those are usually family groups.
Siamang, Symphalangussyndactylus, is the largest species of the gibbons, and the only member of the particular genus. Siamang is usually black in colour, one metre in height, and about 14 kilograms in weight. It has long arms and large throat sack. Their throat sack is largest among all the gibbons, and it is large as the size of their entire head. Therefore, siamang can make very loud calls that pierce through the forest more than a kilometre. There is a membrane between the two digits of each foot to keep them stuck together, which is a unique feature of siamangs. They are found only in Sumatra and Malaysian islands. Interestingly, there is no significant difference between those two populations in the two islands to categorize them in two subspecies. These fruit-eating mammals are an important part of the seed dispersal, as they sometimes move the eaten fruit but undigested seeds about 300 metres from the source. They live in small family groups in wild and their lifespan averages over 30 years in captivity.
What is the difference between Gibbon and Siamang?
• Gibbons are a group of primates with 16 species described under four genera, while siamang being one of those species.
• There are many subspecies of gibbons, but siamangs do not provide enough evidence to categorize into subspecies.
• Siamang is about two times larger than a usual gibbon.
• The throat sac is exceedingly large in siamangs compared to other gibbons.
• The presence of the membrane that keeps the two digits of each foot is unique to siamang but not for other gibbons.