IUCN threat status:

Endangered (EN)

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Biology

Aye-ayes are nocturnal and solitary creatures (5). The day is spent within a nest constructed from twigs and often located high in the crown of tall trees; different nests are utilized on consecutive days and by different individuals (5). Males have large overlapping home ranges, of between 100 and 200 hectares, which encompass those of several females; individuals scent mark their home range by rubbing parts of their neck, cheeks and rump regions onto branches (2). There is no fixed breeding season and females advertise their readiness to mate through distinctive calls (2). A single offspring is born after a gestation period of 160 to 170 days (2) (6) and remains within the nest for around two months before emerging (5). It is thought that females may have intervals of up to three years between births (2). The extraordinary morphology of the aye-aye's hands are adaptations for foraging; the extended middle digit is used for a number of purposes, such as scooping the pulp out of fruits such as coconuts and ramy nuts (Canarium madagascariensis) (2). However, the aye-aye is probably best known for its technique of finding the insects and larvae that make up the majority of its diet; the middle finger is used to tap at branches and the sound produced reveals cavities where insects might be found (5). In this respect, these primates occupy a niche that is filled by woodpeckers elsewhere (4). Once prey is located, aye-ayes tear through the wood with their strong upper incisors and then remove the prize with their long finger (5).

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Source: ARKive

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