Friday Know Your Primate: Daubentonia

Order: Primates
Family: Daubentoniidae
Genus: Daubentonia
Species: Daubentonia madagascariensis, D. robusta
Common name: Aye-aye
Todays primate is my favorite primate, the inherently cool aye-aye. As a side note, I am surprised at my restraint in not choosing them before now. aye.jpg

Fleagle says the aye-aye “…is about as improbable a primate as one could imagine.” I would have to agree. The Aye-aye is a medium sized (almost 3 kg) nocturnal animal with course fur, large ears and a large bushy tail. They are native to Madagascar – residing on the east coast. They eat insect larva and fruit – a fact which explains much of their anatomy. Aye-ayes locate their prey with sound (which explains the large ears) then either use their large incisors (dental formula, which are evergrowing:
or their elongate third digit (see skeleton below). Despite its’ weirdness the aye-aye shares some traits in common with lemurs particularly in the auditory bulla and cranial arteries.
Here are some more pictures:
and here is one of the entire skeleton:
What could be better? Well, how about an aye-aye 30% larger? Daubentonia robusta is an extinct species of aye-aye that is virtually identical to it’s surviving relative. The main difference is one of size…

3 Responses

  1. Wow, scrolling through bloglines, I only got the first picture, and my first thought, before I read that it was a primate, was that it was a possum, or an opossum for non southerners. Now I can finally name an animal uglier than a possum.

  2. Aye-ayes are beautiful and wonderful primates. Next you’ll be insulting naked mole rats…

  3. I think the top picture is wonderfully cute, and I can’t imagine how someone could see that shot as other than cute. I like the other pics too, but I imaagine most people would find them a bit creepy.

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