, 18 tweets, 9 min read Read on Twitter
NEXT UP: 7th-seeded Verreaux's Sifaka (Propithecus verreauxi) vs. 10th-seeded 9-Banded Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) #2019MMM
The 9-Banded Armadillo (can actually have 7-11 bands) can grow 2.5 ft long (half of this is tail) & tip the scales at 17 lbs, or roughly 19 stoats, as it forages in broad ecologies throughout the Americas #2019MMM #stoatsasmeasurement
Other names for the 9-Banded Armadillo include the Long-Nosed Armadillo and Tatu Hu. Tatu comes from the Tupi language family, spoken in places including Paraguay (see description from David Attenborough in 'Adventures of a Young Naturalist') #2019MMM
Unlike some armadillos, the 9-Banded Armadillo cannot roll itself into a ball. What it CAN do, though, is JUMP! When startled, this species can jump 3-4 ft straight up into the air. #2019MMM
Tonight, the armadillo is facing off against another saltatory specialist, the 11-lb Verreaux's Sifaka. While the 90s posited that White Men Can't Jump, this (mostly) white lemur can leap 10 meters from tree to tree! #2019MMM #AirSifaka
See sifaka's amazing vertical leaping & clinging, as well as the unusual sashay-like locomotion it uses on the ground, in this fantastic @BBCEarth video (start at 1:00): #2019MMM
Like all lemurs, Verreaux's Sifaka lives exclusively on Madagascar, in habitats from gallery forest to spiny desert. Our particular Sifaka contender lives in the Kirindy Mitea National park, a deciduous forest in Western Madagascar. #2019MMM
Kirindy Mitea is the site of Ankoatsifaka Research Station, run by #ActualLivingScientist Dr. Rebecca Lewis @UTAustin. #2019MMM
It's afternoon in Kirindy Mitea, preferred awake time for the diurnal sifaka. Squinting against the sun, armadillo feeds enthusiastically on unfamiliar but abundant insects in the leaf litter. #2019MMM
A male sifaka is vertically leaping among the trees, but doesn't quite get the OOOMPH on launch he needed and lands on his target tree trunk near the forest floor where the armadillo is foraging. #2019MMM
A juvenile sifaka is alerted by the armadillo's foraging and mistakes if for a predatory fossa! The juvenile gives the "tchi-faks" predator-specific call, used in Kirindy Mitea in response to fossa. (Fichtel & Kappeler 2011) link.springer.com/content/pdf/10… #2019MMM
Hearing the juveniles "tchi-faks" fossa call, the sifaka male retreat leaps high into the canopy... #2019MMM
Near the top of the tree, the adult sifaka pauses, scanning the forest floor below for signs of a fossa. He sees none; only an unfamiliar, armored animal paying no attention to the arboreal lemurs. The sifaka prepares to descend the tree and reclaim the field of battle! #2019MMM
POW! A harrier hawk's talons pierce the sifaka's flanks! (Brockman 2003) #2019MMM researchgate.net/profile/Diane_…
The sifaka twists to try to escape the avian predator's grasp, and is "knocked off his exposed tree limb." (Brockman 2003) #2019MMM
Sifaka plummets toward the forest floor as the hawk, deprived of its meal, disappears. (Brockman 2003) #2019MMM
9-Banded Armadillo continues to forage contentedly. #2019MMM
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