Scientific Name: Daubentonia madagascariensisDownload as PDF
Aye-ayes are medium-sized and nocturnal lemurs. This means they are only active during the night. In fact, 80% of an Aye-aye’s night is spent travelling and foraging for food.
Aye-ayes eat seeds, beetle and moth larvae, nectar, and a variety of crops including coconuts, lychees and mangoes. This diet makes them key pollinators for their environment. Using a long, specialized middle finger, Aye-ayes tap the surface of branches and tree trunks to locate hollow areas where insect larvae live. Then, they use their continuously growing front teeth to gnaw away the outer bark and their middle finger to extract food.
It is thought that Aye-ayes live in more habitats across Madagascar than any other lemur. Aye-ayes are found in primary rainforests, deciduous forests, secondary growth, dry scrub forests, and mangrove swamps. Because they are nocturnal and often hide during the day, people don’t see Aye-ayes very often. However, we can assume they are present in a forest when we see their characteristic tree hole marks.
Listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List, Aye-aye numbers are decreasing and their populations are severely fragmented. Compared to other lemur species, not as much is known about Aye-ayes. But we suspect that they have the lowest genetic diversity of all lemurs. This puts them at even greater risk. Not having enough genetic diversity means Aye-ayes are less able to adapt to changes in their environment, and less likely to survive them.
The two main threats that Aye-ayes face are habitat loss and poaching. Aye-ayes are often poached because of cultural traditions (fady or taboos that vary from region to region), being seen as a crop-pest, and to be used for food by local families.
LCN Members Working to Save Aye-ayes
- Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership
- Madagascar Fauna & Flora Group (MF&FG)
- Association Mitsinjo
Where to See Aye-ayes in Madagascar
- Nosy Mangabe
- Masoala Forest Lodge
- Ranomafana National Park