The tarsiers of the tarsiidae family are small primates with enormous eyes. Those enormous eyes help them to see in the dark, which is particularly useful when you are a nocturnal primate. These are such odd looking animals with their tiny bodies, only about 15 cm in length and their long, bald, tails, which are about 25 cm in length.

Tarsier by Jaya on Flickr
Tarsier by Jaya on Flickr

Something incredible about tarsiids is that they are the only completely carnivorous primate. Now these little dudes are not out at night hunting big game (but the image of a tarsier trying to take down an antelope did make me giggle) but instead leap into action and catch insects.

Tarsiids have long back limbs, about twice as long as their front limbs. This is one of the morphological adaptations that make them such great leapers. Unlike the last nocturnal primate, lorisids, these guys have to move fast to catch their prey.

Something that a lot of strepsirrhine primates have is a tooth comb. The tooth comb is made up of (usually) six teeth at the front which stick out a bit and are used to get sap from trees or to groom each other. Since tarsiids are nocturnal and carnivorous they don’t need social grooming or to be able to gouge tree bark for food.

They used to have a wider home-range, but due to habitat loss and poaching they are now confined to small parts of South East Asia.

3 thoughts on “Tarsiidae”

    1. Thank you so incredibly much for saying that. I’ve been afraid my quality has fallen since I started grad school, so that was good to hear. I promise to keep it up so I can continue to provide you with posts that are both knowledgable and enjoyable!

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