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Aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) Fact Sheet, 2014   Tags: animals, fact sheets, mammals, primates, san diego zoo, sdzg, wildlife  

Last Updated: Dec 2, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) Fact Sheet, 2014

TaxonomyPhysical Characteristics

Describer (Date): Gmelin (1788)

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Primates

Suborder: Strepsirrhini (prosimians)

Superfamily: Lemuroidae (Malagasy lemurs)

Family: Daubentonia

Genus: Daubentonia

Species: Daubentonia robusta - Extinct
Species: Daubentonia madagascariensis

Body Weight: 
Male: c. 2.62 kg (5.8 lb)
Female: c. 2.57 kg (5.7 lb)

Head & Body Length:
 30-37 cm (12-15 in)

Tail Length:
 44-53 cm (17-21 in)

 Dark brown or black fur, tipped in white. Tail monochromatic, long and bushy.

Distribution & StatusBehavior & Ecology
Range: Madagascar. Concentrated in eastern, northern, and central-western regions; fragmented pockets in nearly all coastal areas. 

 Forest inhabitants; found in nearly all forest types excepting the spiny forest (historically home to the extinct giant aye-aye). Inhabit cultivated areas. 

IUCN Status:
 Endangered (version 3.1); assessed 2012. Large scale reduction in habitat linked to population declines. Population contraction of
> 50% expected within 10-24 years.

CITES Appendix:
 Appendix I

Population in Wild: 
Unknown. Elusive, nocturnal behavior hinders studies of population size and dynamics.
Locomotion: Walk, run, climb, and leap. Most often move within the forest canopy, though commonly observed on the ground .

Activity Cycle: Nocturnal. Feed and travel at night; by day, rest in nests located in trees.

Social Groups: Solitary most often.

Diet: Omnivores. Seeds, nectar, cankers, and insect larvae compose 90% of the diet. 

Predators: Humans believed responsible for most mortality. Fossa. Snakes and raptors may prey on infants and young.
Reproduction & DevelopmentSpecies Highlights
Sexual Maturity: 8-36 months of age

 158-172 days; mean of 167 days

Litter Size:

Birth weight:
 90-140 g (3.2- 4.9 oz) 

Age at Weaning:
 6-7 months of age

 >20 years, in captivity

Feature Facts: Nocturnal lemur, native to Madagascar. Specialized teeth, fingers, and ears help individuals forage for food. Continually growing incisors (teeth) gouge seeds, scrape fungus and cankers, and pry bark from trees. Wood-boring insects are also a large part of the diet. Subsurface hollows, which often contain larvae, are located by echolocation using a technique known as percussive foraging. An elongate, highly flexible middle finger taps on bark, while large ears are cupped around the area to detect resonant sounds. Teeth tear away the overlaying wood giving access to the chamber, which is then probed with the middle finger.


About This Fact Sheet

© 2014 San Diego Zoo Global. Updated November 2014.

How to cite: Aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) Fact Sheet, 2014. c2014. San Diego (CA): San Diego Zoo Global; [accessed YYYY Mmm dd]. 
(note: replace YYYY Mmm dd with date accessed, e.g., 2014 Sep 15)

Disclaimer: Although San Diego Zoo Global makes every attempt to provide accurate information, some of the facts provided may become outdated or replaced by new research findings. Questions and comments may be addressed to

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