The tarsier belongs to the order primates, the family Tarsiidae, and the genus Tarsius. Here is some information on the tarsier:

  • The tariser is the world's smallest primate, closely related to the tree shrew and slender loris.
  • They are primrily arboreal and move in frog-like hops on the ground.
  • Tarsiers have the largest eyes relative to their body size than any living creature.
  • Their eyes are so enormous they cannot be moved in their eye sockets.
  • To compensate, tarsiers are able to swivel their necks 180 degrees in either direction (similar to an owl).
  • There are three to five species of tarsiers. (If you can confirm either one, please do. I found many contradictions looking it up.)
  • The tarsiers hind legs are twice as long as its body.
  • Each hand and foot of the tarsier has five slender fingers and toes.
  • Each finger/toe has nails except for the second and third, which have claws for grooming.
  • The eyes of the tarsier are bigger than its brain.
  • Tarsiers mate for life and live in small family groups.
  • Tarsiers make a loud call similar to a single piercing note.
  • When content, tarsiers emit a sound similar to a soft sweet birdlike twill.
  • Tarsiers have a long prehensile tail which is much longer than their body.
  • The gestation period for a tarsier is 6 months.
  • Infants are born in a precocial condition, with both eyes open and fur.
  • Tarsiers are both insectivorous and carnivorous, eating ants, beetles, cockroaches, scorpions, lizards, bats, snakes, birds, and other small mammals.
  • Tarsiers get their name from the elongated tarsus bone they have.
  • Tarsiers are found in SE Asia, from the Philippines to Indonesia.
  • Tarsiers appear to be intermediate between prosimians and monkeys, and this has caused a lot of controversy in primate classifications.
  • They are similar to prosimians in that they are of small size, have nocturnal habit, non-fused lower jaws, two claws on each foot, enormous eyes, small brains, and elongated legs.
  • Similar to anthropoidea in that they have a dry snout, embryo touches maternal blood, eyes with a tiny forvea, eyes lack a tapetum postorbital septum, and upright lower incisors.
  • Tarsiers have a lifespan of 24 years in the wild.
  • Tarsiers have a lifespan of 12 years in captivity, and are said to become extremely distressed they die of psychological trauma.

Tar"si*er (?), n. [Cf. F. tarsier.]

See Tarsius.


© Webster 1913.

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