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DistributionDaubentonia madagascariensis, commonly known as aye-aye, is endemic to Madagascar and can be found in a variety of habitats.
Conservation statusAye-ayes are critically endangered not only because their habitat is being rapidly destroyed but also because they are considered to be bearers of bad luck and frequently killed. The aye-aye is the only primate that is considered endangered at the species, genus and family level.
DietDiets comprise fruit, nuts, insects, and insect larvae. Preference for flower nectar was noted in field studies (Ancrenaz M et al., 1994). Aye-ayes are very "fussy" feeders: they are highly selective and zoo keepers struggle to vary food items daily. In captivity, aye-ayes also fed "gruel", which is essential in providing protein, calcium and vitamins. The gruel is based either on commercial primate chow or on baby cereal.
Life styleNocturnal. Each animal builds several nests high up in trees or palms. The nests can be used by other individuals for daytime sleep. Night time activity starts shortly before sunset or several hours after. Daytime rest starts shortly before dawn. Pattern of behavior: locomotion - 55.2%, feeding - 14.3%, resting - 18.9%, self-grooming - 11.6% (Ancrenaz M et al., 1994).
Social behaviorSolitary. Sometime travel in small groups. Rarely aggregate during resting and feeding. Social grooming was not detected in field studies (Ancrenaz M et al., 1994). Aye-ayes communicate vocally by giving alarm calls characterized as a soft and long "creeii" , calls between individuals feeding or grooming in close proximity characterized as "ggnnoff" (Andriamasimanana, 1994) and male-to-females calls.
LocomotionArboreal quadruped. However, researchers who conducted field studies also noted upside down clinging, leaping between vertical supports and resting in vertical posture (Ancrenaz M et al., 1994).
AnatomyOverall anatomy, body shape and posture are characteristic to lemurs. Aye-ayes adult weight ranges from 1.5 to 3.2 kg. Aye-ayes possess a unique hand structure that allows them to "tap-scan" tree branches for burrowing insect larvae.
Daubentonia madagascariensis by Joseph Wolf (1863)
Females typically mate with more than one male, representing a multi-male, multi-female mating system.
Average ovarian cycle length is 49.8 +/- 7.7 (Winn, 1994).
- Embryo MeSH Average gestation period ranges from 158 to 172 days (Beattie et al., 1992; Feistner & Ashbourne, 1994; Glander, 1994), which is longer than that for other prosimians of similar body size of about 2.5 kg.
- Post natal
- Neonate Until about 60 days of age. The average body weight at birth is about 110 g. Head is very big in relation to the body. Not precocious: stays in the nest for 2 months, and only by end of third month can manage unsteady walking in close vicinity to the nest.
- Infant From 2 to about 6 months of age. The period of high emotional dependency on presence of mother. From about 2 months of age locomotor abilities of the young animal begin to develop rapidly: at 3 months of age, aye-aye is able to walk on the branches and jump, it also start to use its third digit to tap objects, and gradually starts self-grooming.
- Juvenile From 6 months of age until sexual maturity; juveniles are weaned at about 20 weeks of age.
- Adult Age of sexual maturity is about 2.5 years for females and for males; lifespan is up to 23.3 years in captivity.
- Andriamasimanana M. Ecoethological study of free-ranging aye-ayes (Daubentonia madagascariensis) in Madagascar. Folia Primatol (Basel). 1994;62(1-3):37-45.
- Ancrenaz M, Lackman-Ancrenaz I, Mundy N. Field observations of aye-ayes (Daubentonia madagascariensis) in Madagascar. Folia Primatol (Basel). 1994;62(1-3):22-36.
- Winn RM. Morphometrics and growth in captive aye-ayes (Daubentonia madagascariensis). Folia Primatol (Basel). 1994;62(1-3):93-107.
- Glander KE. Development of behaviour in a young aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) in captivity. Folia Primatol (Basel). 1994;62(1-3):108-14.
- Carroll JB, Haring DM. Maintenance and breeding of aye-ayes (Daubentonia madagascariensis) in captivity: a review. Folia Primatol (Basel). 1994;62(1-3):54-62.
- Boucher, E. and E. Sargis. 2007. "Daubentonia madagascariensis" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 28, 2010.
- Quinn A. Wilson DE. Daubentonia madagascariensis. MAMMALIAN SPECIES No. 740, pp. 1–6, 3 figs.
Greatest book about aye-aye by one of the best naturalist authors Gerald Durrell:
If you like animals and good humor you need to read Durrell's books.
Source of photos: http://kotomatrix.ru/: - cool photos of animals with funny descriptions (in Russian).Back to top