Daubentonia madagascariensis external image AyeAye4.jpg

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Primates

Family: Daubentoniidae

Genus: Daubentonia

Common names: Aye- Aye, Ahay, Aiay, Fingertier, Hay-hay


About the Aye-Aye:

With its bizarre appearance and even more peculiar behaviors, the Aye-Aye is one of the most interesting animals. Not only are Aye-Ayes primates, they are endemic to Madagascar, and locals associate these animals with superstitions. Aye-Ayes are also the only primates that are thought to use echolocation, which is simply finding the location of objects that are reflected by sound waves. The average life span of Aye-ayes is 20 years when bred in captivity. Aye- Ayes are omnivores and their diet consists of wood-boring grubs, fruits, nuts, nectar, seeds, fungi, coconuts, and mangoes. The Aye-Ayes are furry animals with sensitive ears and long fingers. These organisms use their third finger to tap on trees and find wood-boring grubs through echolocation. They use this same finger to eat the insects and fruits, and use it to scare people since they are considered an ill-omen.


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Habitat:

Aye-Ayes are endemic to Madagascar and they are found in varying habitats including primary rain forests and dry forests.

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Population:

Due to their elusive behavior, the exact number of Aye-Ayes is unknown, but an estimate for the species would be 1000-10,000 individuals.


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Causes of Threat:

Deforestation has caused the Aye-Aye population to dwindle dramatically over time. Aye-Ayes live in low densities, so large areas of forest habitat are vital to the Aye-Aye population. Many of the forests where Aye-Ayes and other Madagascar primates reside are being torn down to make room for development and agriculture. These forests are also their source of nourishment, so when the forests decrease, so does the food supply of the primates. This in turn causes Aye-Ayes to invade plantations and steal crops, leading to problems with plantation owners who kill them. Along with the loss of habitats, Aye-Ayes are the subject of cruel harassment by natives in Madagascar. According to their superstitions, The Aye-Aye is the symbol of death and the embodiment of evil. Natives believe that if they see an Aye-Aye in their village, one of their fellow villager will die unless they immediately kill the creature. Due to this ideology, many Aye-Ayes are mercilessly killed.

Conservation Efforts:

The decrease in the Aye-Aye population has spurred several conservation efforts in the form of programs to keep this unique animal from going extinct. There are several protected areas in Madagascar designated for Aye-Ayes to live peacefully, such as Ankarana Reserve, Ranomafana National Park, and Nosy Mangabe Special Reserve, to name a few. Conservation efforts are even occurring in other parts of the world in the form of captive breeding colonies. The Duke Primate Center in North Carolina and the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in New Jersey are two of the more well known examples of these kind of havens. As of recently, there are about 45 Aye-Ayes being bred in captivity.

The measures that are currently underway may not be sufficient though in keeping the Aye-Aye population from going extinct. Other measures that could be taken to preserve the Aye-Aye population would be to enforce stricter laws against killing Aye Ayes and provide better protection for the already protected areas designated for the Aye-Aye population.

Videos:

"Aye Aye Birth" is a video about a baby Aye-aye that was born in captivity



"World's Weirdest: The Demon Primate" is an informational video about the Aye-Ayes.


"Aye-Aye at Duke Lemur Center" is a video mainly focused on the unusual feeding methods of Aye-Aye.

Links:

http://www.arkive.org/aye-aye/daubentonia-madagascariensis/
http://www.edgeofexistence.org/mammals/species_info.php?id=16
http://www.animalinfo.org/species/primate/daubmada.htm

Works Cited:

"Animal Info- Endangered Animals." Animal Info. Animalinfo.org, 07 Mar. 2005. Web. 11 Jan. 2013. <http://www.animalinfo.org/species/primate/daubmada.htm>.
Aye-Aye at Duke Lemur Center. Aye-Aye at Duke Lemur Center. Duke Lemur Center, 04 Feb. 2009. Web. 11 Jan. 2013. <http://youtu.be/HB_fQ1Rg_K4>.
Aye-aye Birth. Youtube. Youtube, 02 July 2008. Web. 11 Jan. 2013. <http://youtu.be/i_yJYyT2YKs>.
Aye-Aye. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Jan. 2013. <http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_mfR4ZOrIiUY/TTMN-JrVu_I/AAAAAAAAAGY/MYuO2oPsLmY/s400/AyeAye4.jpg>.
"Aye-aye (Daubentonia Madagascariensis)." Arkive. Wildscreen, 2012. Web. 11 Jan. 2013. <http://www.arkive.org/aye-aye/daubentonia-madagascariensis/>.
Aye Aye Distribution. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Jan. 2013. <http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-fwq4TQPEZrc/UDNmMp0CJHI/AAAAAAAAAQI/HXAi3ty98HA/s1600/Aye+Aye+distribution.png>.
Aye-Aye Eating. Digital image. Wildmadness.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Jan. 2013. <http://www.wildmadness.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/aye-aye-eating_wildmadness.ccom_.jpg>.
"Daubentonia Madagascariensis." IUCN Red List. Nternational Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, 2008. Web. 11 Jan. 2013. <http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/6302/0>.
Rainforest. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Jan. 2013. <http://students.cis.uab.edu/adh89/rainforest.jpg>.
World's Weirdest : The Demon Primate. World's Weirdest : The Demon Primate. National Geographic, 22 Mar. 2012. Web. 11 Jan. 2013. <http://youtu.be/Fw2DtZYJuiI>.
Zoological Society of London. "335. Aye-aye (Daubentonia Madagascariensis)." EDGE of Existence. Zoological Society of London, n.d. Web. 11 Jan. 2013. <http://www.edgeofexistence.org/mammals/species_info.php?id=16>.