Aye-Aye
Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Order
Suborder
Superfamily
Genus
SPECIES
Daubentonia madagascariensis
Population size
1-10 Thou
Life Span
23 years
Top speed
32
20
km/hmph
km/h mph 
Weight
2-2.7
4.4-5.9
kglbs
kg lbs 
Length
30-40
11.8-15.7
cminch
cm inch 

The Aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) is a long-fingered lemur that inhabits the rainforests in Madagascar. It is the world’s largest nocturnal primate and has a unique appearance. When first discovered, it was thought to be a type of large squirrel. The aye-aye was finally recognized in the mid-1800s as being a member of the lemur family but was classified in its own group by itself, as its closest lemur relatives are a mystery even today. These incredibly special animals are, however, under severe threat throughout a good part of their natural habitat. By 1980 it was thought they were nearly extinct, mainly because they were killed on sight by local people who believed that it is very bad luck to encounter an aye-aye.

No

Nocturnal

Om

Omnivore

Ca

Carnivore

Fr

Frugivore

He

Herbivore

In

Insectivores

Ar

Arboreal

Al

Altricial

Is

Island endemic

Sc

Scansorial

Te

Terrestrial

Vi

Viviparous

Po

Polygynandry

So

Solitary

No

Not a migrant

A

starts with

Ha

Harbingers Of Misfortune
(collection)

Appearance

Young aye-ayes typically are silver colored on their front and have a stripe down their back. However, as the aye-ayes begin to reach maturity, their bodies will be completely covered in thick fur and are typically not one solid color. On the head and back, the ends of the hair are typically tipped with white while the rest of the body will ordinarily be a yellow and/or brown color. Among the aye-aye's signature traits are its fingers. The third finger, which is much thinner than the others, is used for tapping, while the fourth finger, the longest, is used for pulling grubs and insects out of trees, using the hooked nail. The skinny middle finger is unique in the animal kingdom in that it possesses a ball-and-socket metacarpophalangeal joint, can reach the throat through a nostril, and is used for picking one's nose and eating mucus (mucophagy) so harvested from inside the nose. The aye-aye has also evolved a sixth digit, a pseudo thumb, to aid in gripping.

Video

Distribution

Geography

Continents
Subcontinents
Countries
Biogeographical realms

The aye-aye is native to Madagascar. It inhabits a wide variety of habitats such as deciduous forests, primary and secondary rainforests, cultivated plantations, and sometimes mangrove forests and dry scrub.

Aye-Aye habitat map

Climate zones

Aye-Aye habitat map
Aye-Aye
Attribution-ShareAlike License

Habits and Lifestyle

The aye-aye is an arboreal and nocturnal animal, spending most of its time up in trees. Although they descend to the ground now and again, aye-ayes eat, sleep, travel, and mate high in the trees and usually are found near to the canopy where the dense foliage provides plenty of cover. During the day aye-ayes sleep in a spherical nest built from leaves, vines, and branches and situated in the fork of tree branches. They come out after dark to hunt for food. Aye-ayes are solitary animals that mark their large home territory with scent. The smaller territory of females often overlaps those of at least two males. A male will generally share his territory with other males and sometimes they can forage in tandem and share a nest (although at different times). They seem to tolerate one another until they hear a female calling, looking for a mate.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Aye-ayes are omnivorous animals. They eat a variety of fruits, nectar, honey, fungi, seeds, larvae, insects, and eggs.

Mating Habits

MATING BEHAVIOR
REPRODUCTION SEASON
year-round
PREGNANCY DURATION
5 months
BABY CARRYING
1 infant
INDEPENDENT AGE
2 years
BABY NAME
infant

Aye-ayes are polygynandrous (promiscuous) animals, with both males and females having multiple mates. A female ready to mate calls to males, which gather around her and fight aggressively amongst themselves for the right to breed with her. Contrary to a previous belief about a strict breeding season, the aye-aye seems to mate at any time of the year, dependent on when the female is in season. Gestation lasts about five months and one offspring is born. It stays safely in the nest for the first 2 months and is weaned at about 7 months old. It will remain with its mother until the age of two years when it leaves to establish its own territory. It is thought that female aye-ayes are sexually mature at the age of 3 to 3.5 years, and males from the age of 2.5 years.

Population

Population threats

The biggest threat to the aye-aye is habitat loss through deforestation and the increasing number of human settlements that impact its natural habitat. Aye-ayes are also hunted or killed outright by native Malagasy, as they are regarded both as crop pests and bad omens.

Population number

The Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) resource states that the current number of aye-ayes is unknown. However, an estimate would be 1,000-10,000 animals. Today aye-aye numbers are decreasing and it is classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List.

Ecological niche

Aye-ayes may help in the dispersal of the fruiting tree seeds which they consume. In addition, they are important predators of the larvae of the wood-boring beetle and may control its populations.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • Aye-ayes often hang upside down from branches and are able to rest horizontally or vertically.
  • Aye-ayes are specially adapted for hunting in a unique way. They tap a branch with their finger and listen for the sound of larvae or moving insects. If they hear something, they make a hole using their sharp teeth and scoop out the prey with their middle digit.
  • It is thought that the aye-aye is the only primate to search for food using echolocation.
  • When traveling on the ground, an aye-aye raises its delicate clawed digits to avoid damaging them, resulting in a clumsy, strange gait.
  • The name “aye-aye” may come from the “hai-hai” sound they make when fleeing danger.
  • Aye-ayes originally were classified as rodents, due to their incisors, which grow continuously.

References

1. Aye-Aye Wikipedia article - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aye-aye
2. Aye-Aye on The IUCN Red List site - http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/6302/0

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