The Philippine tarsier (Carlito syrichta ), known locally as mawumag in Cebuano and other Visayan languages, and magô in Waray, is a species of tarsier endemic to the Philippines. It is found in the southeastern part of the archipelago, particularly on the islands of Bohol, Samar and Leyte. It is a member of the approximately 45-million-year-old family Tarsiidae, whose name is derived from its elongated "tarsus" or ankle bone. Formerly a member of the genus Tarsius, it is now listed as the only member of the genus Carlito, a new genus named after the conservationist Carlito Pizarras.Show More
Its geographic range also includes Maripipi Island, Siargao Island, Basilan Island and Dinagat Island. Tarsiers have also been reported in Sarangani, although they may be different subspecies.Show Less
Nocturnality is an animal behavior characterized by being active during the night and sleeping during the day. The common adjective is "nocturnal",...
Crepuscular animals are those that are active primarily during twilight (that is, the periods of dawn and dusk). This is distinguished from diurnal...
An insectivore is a carnivorous plant or animal that eats insects. An alternative term is entomophage, which also refers to the human practice of e...
A carnivore meaning 'meat eater' is an organism that derives its energy and nutrient requirements from a diet consisting mainly or exclusively of a...
Arboreal locomotion is the locomotion of animals in trees. In habitats in which trees are present, animals have evolved to move in them. Some anima...
Altricial animals are those species whose newly hatched or born young are relatively immobile. They lack hair or down, are not able to obtain food ...
Island endemic animals are found in a single defined geographic location, such as an island. Animals or organisms that are indigenous to a place ar...
A territory is a sociographical area that which an animal consistently defends against the conspecific competition (or, occasionally, against anima...
Among animals, viviparity is the development of the embryo inside the body of the parent. The term 'viviparity' and its adjective form 'viviparous'...
Monogamy is a form of relationship in which both the male and the female has only one partner. This pair may cohabitate in an area or territory for...
NoNot a migrant
Animals that do not make seasonal movements and stay in their native home ranges all year round are called not migrants or residents.
Known as the “world’s smallest monkey” because of its similarity in appearance to that primate, tarsiers, along with lemurs, tree shrews, and lorises, actually are members of a more primitive suborder of Prosimii or prosimian. They are amongst the oldest land species that have existed continuously in the Philippines, dating from the early Eocene period, 45 million years ago. The Philippine tarsier has various distinctive habits and characteristics that make it an object of both popular curiosity and scientific research. Its eyes are unique and are almost twice as big as those of humans, however, they cannot see from the corners. Its head can rotate as much as 180 degrees, so it is able to leap backward with great precision. In addition, enabled by adhesive discs on the soles of its limbs, tarsiers cling to branches either horizontally or vertically.
This species is native to the Philippines, where it lives on the islands of Leyte, Samar, Dinagat, Siargao, Bohol, Mindanao, Basilan and Maripipi. Philippine tarsiers inhabit areas of tall grasses, bamboo shoots, small trees, and bushes in tropical rainforests. They prefer the jungle canopy and leap from limb to limb.
Philippine tarsiers are nocturnal but are also active at dawn and dusk. During the day they sleep in dense vegetation or sometimes in a hollow tree. At sunset, they begin searching for insect prey. They are agile acrobats, easily leaping vertically from tree to tree. Philippine tarsiers are solitary but may sometimes associate in groups of four animals or fewer. They demonstrate little fear of other species and especially humans unless a quick movement is made. When they are threatened they make a high-pitched squeak. Although less vocal than other primates, a tarsier uses a variety of means of communication, including calls for territorial maintenance and the spacing of males and females. They also use scent marks from glandular secretions to delineate their territories.
Philippine tarsiers are carnivores (insectivores). They mainly consume insects but will also eat spiders, lizards, birds, and other small vertebrates.
Philippine tarsiers are monogamous, which means that one male mates with one female exclusively. They tend to breed at any time of the year. A single baby is born following a gestation period of about six months. A baby tarsier is very well developed when born, with a full covering of fur and open eyes, and after just one day it is able to climb. As a mother climbs around the trees, her young will cling to her belly or is carried in her mouth. When 42-60 days old, Philippine tarsiers start to hunt their own insects, and soon after, they are weaned. They usually reach sexual maturity between the age of one and two years.
Tarsiers are under severe threat by trappers and hunters, who shake them out of the trees or chop off the branches of trees where they live. They are also popular as pets, especially in Mexico. However, tarsiers do not often live long in captivity, as being captured traumatizes them so much that they will beat their head against the cage, to the point of killing themselves. These animals are also significantly affected by the increasing deforestation of their native habitat.
According Primate GCAP Report the total population size of the Philippine tarsier is less than 2,500 individuals, including 700 tarsiers in Bohol’s Forest. Currently, this species is classified on the IUCN Red List as near threatened (NT) and its numbers continue to decrease.
Being predators, Philippine tarsiers may help to structure insect communities. To the extent that they are preyed upon by other animals, they may impact predator populations.