Aye-aye

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D. robusta

Family:

  • Cheiromyidae I. Geoffroy St. Hilaire, 1851
  • Chiromyidae Bonaparte, 1850

Genus:

  • Aye-aye Lacépède, 1799
  • Cheiromys G. Cuvier, 1817
  • Cheyromys É. Geoffroy, 1803
  • Chiromys Illiger, 1811
  • Myslemur Anon. [?de Blainville], 1846
  • Myspithecus de Blainville, 1839
  • Psilodactylus Oken, 1816
  • Scolecophagus É. Geoffroy, 1795

Species:

  • daubentonii Shaw, 1800
  • laniger G. Grandidier, 1930
  • psilodactylus Schreber, 1800

The Aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) is a lemur, a strepsirrhine primate native to Madagascar that combines rodent-like teeth and a special thin middle finger to fill the same ecological niche as a woodpecker. It is the world's largest nocturnal primate, and is characterized by its unusual method of finding food; it taps on trees to find grubs, then gnaws holes in the wood and inserts its narrow middle finger to pull the grubs out. The only other animal species known to find food in this way is the Striped Possum.[4] From an ecological point of view the Aye-aye fills the niche of a woodpecker as it is capable of penetrating wood to extract the invertebrates within.[5][6]

The Aye-aye is the only extant member of the genus Daubentonia and family Daubentoniidae (although it is currently classified as Near Threatened by the IUCN); a second species, Daubentonia robusta, appears to have become extinct at some point within the last 1000 years.[7]

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