Part One: Species Background The aye-aye, otherwise known as Daubentonia madagascariensis, is an interesting and distinct primate that has a unique lifestyle to help it thrive. Aye-ayes the only species left in the family Daubentoniidae, and is additionally a part of the superfamily Lemuroidea (Andriaholinirina, 2014 and Hardy, 2017). Their geographic distribution is fairly unvaried being as they are only found on the island of Madagascar and two surrounding islands. The aye-aye is mainly found in eastern, northern, and central-western parts of the island of Madagascar. There are other random and broken up pockets of aye-ayes across coastal Madagascar. Additionally, there are two island populations of aye-ayes off the coast of northeastern Madagascar (Nosy Mangabe and Ile Roger) were populations of aye-ayes were introduced and it is unknown if they had formerly lived on Nosy Mangabe. More specifically, the habitat of aye-ayes has diversity because they are able to survive in primary rainforests, deciduous forests, secondary growth, dry scrub forests, and mangrove swamps where they live in nests, tree forks or vine tangles. The only place that aye-ayes are not able to survive would be southern spiny bush (Andriaholinirina, 2014 and Gron, 2007). When it comes to the conservation status for aye-ayes, they are considered endangered, so efforts are being made to actively preserve them. The threats they face include being sometimes killed as a harbinger of evil/symbol of bad luck and they are seen as a crop-pest, of crops such as coconuts, and they are killed for food. Habitat threats also put aye-ayes at risk of extinction because their trees are cut down for the construction of products. Efforts to help aye-ayes include a captive breeding program that is attempting to reproduce aye-ayes in captivity; however, there has been no second generation successfully bred as of now (Andriaholinirina, 2014).Part II: Topic and Species ComparisonsBornean orangutans are mainly frugivores. As a result of this, fruits are what make up about 61% of their entire diet (Cawthon Lang, 2005). As far as the amount of fruit they eat, there is what is called mast fruiting every two to ten years. The phenomenon of mast fruiting is when there are large amounts of fruit available as a result of a large number of trees fruiting. When this occurs, orangutans engorge themselves and vastly exceed their daily requirements for caloric intake in order to put on additional fat. Males tend to consume more calories than females during this time. Even when there is not mast fruiting, there is still a peak in fruit availability at the beginning and end of rainy season and it becomes scarce at the end of dry season (Knott, 1998) The overconsumption of fats is a strategy that orangutans utilize in order to help them thrive. In addition to fruits, bornean orangutans have also been found to eat a variety of different items, such as; insects, flowers, buds, young leaves, bark, sap, vines, roots, bird eggs, spider webs, fungi, honey, and a variety of other parts of plants (Cawthon Lang, 2005). They are very opportunistic when it comes to their eating habits, this once again helps them to thrive when fruit is not always readily available.When it comes to black-and-white colobus monkeys, they tend to have a fairly variable diet also due to the variable in places they can reside. They mainly eat leaves (up to 50% of their diets); however, fruit has been known to occasionally predominate in certain studies. Black-and-white colobus monkeys typically consume young leaves, but in times of scarcity and limited resources, they will consume the mature leaves and fruit. The times that they do consume fruits, they prefer fleshy fruits that are unripe; this is seen as a way for the black-and-white colobus monkeys to avoid conflict with other species that prefer the ripe, fleshy fruits. Other foods that black-and-white colobus monkeys have been found to consume include bark and wood from trees, seeds, water-plants, flowers, and concrete from buildings and soil. Typically when looking at this monkey’s diet, it can been seen that they tend to eat foods that are higher protein-to-fiber ratios. Moreover, both their variability in diet and habitats depend upon each other in order to help the black-and-white colobus monkey survive. Additionally, aye-ayes are known as omnivores. They tend to eat a variety of different foods; however, they prefer to eat seeds, nectar, insect larvae, and fungi. When looking specifically at locations, such as Nosy Mangabe, nearly all of the aye-aye’s diet was composed of fruits, nectar, insect larvae, and cankers from the barks of trees. Contrastingly so, in looking at other places in which they do not have easy access to such items, aye-ayes have been found to eat nectar from trees, ramy nuts, litchi, mango fruits, and even coconuts. When looking specifically at gender, male aye-ayes rank their food preferences as coconuts being most preferable, larvae, and finally cankers on the trees. Overall, as a result of distribution and food availability, aye-ayes have developed a diverse range of foods that they consume.Overall, bornean orangutans, black-and-white colobus monkeys, and aye-ayes all tend to be fairly diverse in the foods they choose to consume. This is based upon their distribution globally, competition, and availability of preferred foods and makes it easier for them all to thrive in many settings. The main difference in simply what each primate chooses to mainly consume. For bornean orangutans that is fruit, for black-and-white colobus monkeys that is mainly leaves (occasionally fruits), and for aye-ayes that is seeds, nectar, insect larvae, and fungi. The amount of food that each primate must eat varies also The energetic demands of a bornean orangutan are much larger than that of a black-and-white colobus monkey, let alone that of an aye-aye. Bigger primates, like orangutans, need to consume more calories total, but fewer calories per pound of body weight compared to smaller primates, like the black-and-white colobus monkey and the aye-aye. However, this causes the smaller primates to have to eat more in comparison to their total body weight. This is why smaller primates eat foods with higher caloric payoff per pound (insects, gum, fruit) and larger primates can eat leaves, fruits, and bark (things with lower caloric payoff per pound).Part III: Specialized AdaptationsThe long middle finger of the aye-aye has become what they are most known for in the primate world. This finger is independent in movement from the rest of the fingers and helps greatly with many things. Two main purposes include, tapping trees to find insects hiding within the wood and to remove larvae from the cavities in the wood once they have located them. This is a strategy called percussive foraging and it helps the aye-aye thrive. The large ears of the aye-aye also assist when it comes to percussive foraging. Once the larvae is located, the sharp incisors of the aye-aye work to gnaw through the tough tree bark and allow the aye-aye to reach the food. Additionally, the digit can otherwise be used to help the aye-aye drink, by moving rapidly between the mouth and the liquid and the sharp teeth are used to gnaw nuts with hard shells.The diet of the aye-aye can appear to change based upon season and availability of food in cold and wet seasons, aye-ayes increase their reliance on cankers; which contrasts to the rest of the year, when they tend to rely more upon seeds.


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