Lemurs have been evolving separately from the rest of the world’s primates on the island of Madagascar for the last 65 million years or so. The aye-aye is the world’s largest nocturnal primate with large ears, rodent-like teeth, and a specialized middle finger adapted for detecting and gathering insect larvae that live inside trees. Although not usually associated with pumpkins, aye-ayes have been known to raid coconut plantations, and are sometimes hunted as crop-threatening pests. Many villagers view the aye-aye as an evil omen, especially if it happens to point its middle finger in their direction, and must be killed on sight to avoid bringing bad luck to an entire village. Despite these threats, the aye-aye is widely, though sparsely, distributed along the east coast and in the northwestern forests of Madagascar. A breeding population of 37 animals are at 12 zoological institutions in North America, Europe and Asia with the Duke Lemur Center having the largest captive population of 14 aye-ayes).
World Lemur Festival October 29 – 31, 2015
The aye-aye in this photo is a 40 day-old infant photographed at the Duke University Lemur Center.
David Haring, Duke University Lemur Center, Durham, NC.