Tarsiidae is the only family in the genus Tarsius. There are 7 extant species of tarsiers, all similar in size, morphology, and ecology. They are all small, nocturnal, carnivorous primates specialized for leaping and clinging. Tarsiers are the most "primitive" of the haplorhine primates, with fossils dating to the Eocene. They were once widely distributed, fossils are known from North America, Europe, North Africa, and Asia (Niemitz, 2003). Tarsier species are all highly arboreal and are found primarily in tropical, forested habitats with dense vertical growth. They use “vertical clinging and leaping” between tree trunks or other vertical supports extensively while locomoting (Niemitz, 2003). Tarsiers are small primates, weighing 80 to 150 g. Their fur is velvety or silky and buff, grayish brown, or dark brown on the back and grayish or buffy on the underside, generally resembling the color of dead leaves or bark. Their most distinctive features are their round heads, remarkably large eyes that are directed forward, and their medium to large, hairless, and very mobile ears (Feldhamer et al., 1999; Groves, 1989; Niemitz, 2003).
- Feldhamer, G., L. Drickamer, S. Vessey, J. Merritt. 1999. Adaptation, Diversity, and Ecology. Boston: WCB McGraw-Hill.
- Groves, C. 1989. A Theory of Human and Primate Evolution. Oxford: Oxford Science Publications, Clarendon Press.
- Niemitz, C. 2003. Tarsiers (Tarsiidae). Pp. 91-100 in M Hutchins, A Evans, J Jackson, D Kleiman, J Murphy, D Thoney, eds. Grzimek Animal Life Encyclopedia, Vol. 14, 2nd Edition. Detroit: Gale Group
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