Sunday, December 19, 2010
The aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) is a species of lemur found in Madagascar and is a strepsirrhine primate. It is rated as critically endangered. It is the only extant species of the genus Daubentonia and the family Daubentoniidae. The other species from this family and genus got extinct about 1000 years ago. Scientists are not sure if this animal should be classified under the squirrel or lemur family.
The aye-aye is mostly dark brown or black in color. It has a very bushy and long tail. They are the world's largest nocturnal primate. They have rodent like teeth and a very thin middle finger which they use to look for grubs in tree barks. Aye-ayes have long claws on all toes and fingers, except for their two big toes. These long claws help in dangling on tree branches. Their tails grow about 61cm long while their body length, excluding the tail, is 43cm. Aye-ayes can weigh about 2 kilograms. An aye-aye is the size of a house cat. They have big eyes so that they can see in dark and they even have very sensitive ears. They might not look like primates at all but, they are closely related to human, apes and chimpanzees. The aye-ayes long middle finger is known to move back and forth at speeds of 3 strokes per second.
The aye-aye is an omnivore, eating nuts, grubs, nectar, fruits, seeds and some types of fungi. The aye-ayes has a very different style of feeding. It taps on the tree to search for grubs. Once it finds a grub, it will gnaw a hole inside the tree and then insert its long middle finger to remove the grub. It is also the only primate to find food with the help of echolocation.
Distribution and Habitat Range of Aye-Aye
The aye-aye is found only in Madagascar. It mainly lives in the east coast of Madagascar and lives in rainforests or deciduous forests. Due to deforestation, many ayes-ayes live in cultivated areas. Aye-ayes will mostly be spotted in canopies of forests. In the day, these animals will rest in nests built and tree branches.
The aye-aye is critically endangered due to heavy poaching and removal of rainforests and deciduous forests. They are mainly hunted as many people think aye-ayes are a bad omen and therefore ruthlessly killed. Now, they are protected by law.
Source of picture 1:http://bioweb.uwlax.edu/bio203/s2008/dahl_soph/Nutrition.htm
Source of picture 2:http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/printable/aye-aye.html