Zoology A Closer Look: Daubentonia madagascariensis (Aye-Aye)

Discussion in 'Zoology' started by mscbkc070904, Feb 2, 2005.

  1. mscbkc070904

    mscbkc070904 Premium Member

    Common Name:
    Aye-Aye

    Scientific Name:
    Kingdom: Animalia
    Phylum: Chordata
    Subphylum: Vertebrata
    Class: Mammalia
    Order: Primates
    Family: Daubentoniidae
    Genus: Daubentonia
    Species: Daubentonia madagascariensis

    Introduction:
    If you shaved an aye-aye and stood him on his hind feet, he would look very much like "Golem," the J. R. R. Tolkein character from Lord of the Rings.

    This strange little creature from Madagascar has amazingly long fingers on his hands (yes, he's a primate), and huge eyes for hunting his food at night.

    There is only one species of aye-aye now living, although a much larger one lived in the past but is now extinct. Many scientists and citizen's groups are now working hard to save this animal, which was once considered to be one of the rarest mammals on Earth.

    Like the cat during the European Middle Ages, the aye-aye is thought to be an evil creature, and for this reason it is traditionally shot on sight by the human citizens of Madagascar. Unlike the cat, who could survive it's persecution because of it's large numbers and wide range, the aye-aye lives only on it's island, and cannot easily regenerate it's numbers. It is almost impossible to see the animals now because they are nocturnal and rare. It is even more difficult to start a successful breeding program in zoos.

    The Aye-aye is one of the world's most bizarre creatures with its long twig-like middle finger, huge eyes, rat-like teeth, and large bat-like ears. This nocturnal lemur, first classified as a rodent, uses its long middle finger as a tool for finding insects. After tapping the tree bark, it uses its sensitive hearing to detect the movement of insect larvae. Studies have found that the aye-aye is capable of sensing insect movement at a depth of 12 feet. Sadly this odd creature is endangered by both habitat destruction in northeastern Madagascar and widespread persecution by native Malagasy as an harbinger of bad luck.

    Basic Information:
    Geographic Range
    Found only on Madagascar.

    Habitat
    Aye-ayes live only in the northern part of the east coast rainforest of Madagascar in forests, mangroves and bamboo thickets.

    Physical Description
    One of the most bizarre looking primates. The aye-aye has huge, bat-like ears, a flattened face, large eyes, and a long, bushy tail. The fingers are long and narrow; the third finger is extremely elongated into a spindly digit; all digits bear claws except the big toes which bear nails. The coat is black with white flecks on the body; the fur is coarse and straight. The single, large pair of incisors are ever-growing and have enamel restricted to the front surface (similar to rodent incisors). There are no canines in the permanent dentition and a large diastema (gap) separates the incisors from the cheekteeth. Head-Body: 360-440mm; Tail: 500-600mm.

    Reproduction
    Little is known about the aye-aye's reproductive habits. Breeding probably occurs once every two or three years; one young is typically born in October-November.

    Behavior
    The aye-aye is strictly nocturnal and solitary. During the day it sleeps in a nest constructed in the fork of a large tree about 10-15 meters off the ground. The nest is a complex structure of intertwining twigs and leaves and probably requires 24 hours to construct. A new nest is constructed every few days. The aye-aye is primarily arboreal, where it uses its long claws to cling to branches and tree trunks, but it will make lengthy trips across the ground.

    Food Habits
    Aye-ayes eat insect larvae and fruit. They use their large, bat-like ears to listen for larvae burrowing under tree bark. Once the aye-aye detects larvae, it gnaws off the surface bark using its chisel-like incisors. The aye-aye then probes the hole with its elongate middle finger and transfers the larvae to its mouth.

    Conservation Status
    The aye-aye is almost extinct. The main threat to its survival is habitat destruction, but local superstition plays a role in its disapperance. Native Malagasy believe the aye-aye is a portent of death and will thus kill it on sight. Several animals have been captured and released on Nosy Mangabe Reserve in an effort to preserve the species.

    Additional Photos:
    Aye-aye photos - Daubentonia madagascariensis | ARKive

    Websites:
    ADW: Daubentonia madagascariensis: INFORMATION

    Daubentonia madagascariensis - Aye-aye

    The Aye-Aye – A Weird and Endangered Animal
     
  2. mscbkc070904

    mscbkc070904 Premium Member

    MODS, if you could please get the image to come up, I have tried but its not coming up. And if I can not use this image, please try the websites below to enter the pic. And U2U me is I can not use a pic like this that has copyright on it. Thanks, M
     
  3. drlau

    drlau Premium Member

    Excellent post!

    I just saw something on Animal Planet about the "strange" animals on Madagascar - the Aye-aye was one of them.

    That middle finger just cracks me up! :lol:

    Oh, Pineapple... could you make a banner? Pleeeease? :D