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Spectral Tarsier
 
   
   

Fig 1


Fig 2


Fig 3




 

Order : PRIMATES
Family : Tarsiidae
Species : Tarsius tarsier

Head-body length : 14 cm
Tail length :  24 cm
Weight : 130 grams

The Spectral Tarsier is amongst the smallest of all primates. Tarsiers are nocturnal, forest specialists.

By day they roost in small social groups in tree holes or crevices, particularly amongst the complex trunks and vertical root structures of figs. At dusk they emerge from their hiding place and will spend an hour or so resting prior to exploring the surrounding forest for their food prey - mainly insects, such as beetles and grasshoppers, or perhaps small vertebrates such as lizards. The young will be left near the roosting site while the adults search for food.

They are supremely adapted for night-time hunting, with  large ears for detecting the movement of insects, and large eyes for nocturnal vision. The forward-facing eyes have limited movement in their sockets, but the neck can rotate 180 degrees in each direction to allow all-around vision.

They have long legs for leaping up to 6 metres from tree to tree with remarkable agility, and come to ground if prey has been sighted or if in need of water. The long, bony, fingers and toes have rounded pads, and the second and third toes also have pointed claws which are used for grooming. The tail is long, with thin hair at the distal end.

The Spectral Tarsier only occurs on the central Indonesian island of Sulawesi and some smaller nearby islands including Peleng and Selayar. Two other species of Tarsier occur in other parts of Southeast Asia - these are the Western Tarsier, which occurs in Borneo and Sumatra and the Philippine Tarsier in southern parts of the Philippines.


Figs 1 and 2 : Two adult specimens of Spectral Tarsier from Tangkoko National Park, North Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Fig 3 : The slopes of Mount Tangkoko - stronghold of the Spectral Tarsier.