Tarsius tarsier                       Carnivore              Nocturnal              Status: Vulnerable


Tarsier playing card in the Komodo Board Game








Tarsiers are the living representative of a most ancient prosimian lineage, which dates back at least 45 million years. Tarsier-like creatures have been found in the fossil record of North America and Eurasia, but today tarsiers are restricted to Southeast Asian islands including the Philippines, Borneo, Sumatra and Sulawesi.

The spectral tarsier is the type specimen of its genus, which is known for its tiny overall size (spectral tarsiers weigh no more than 100 grams), huge eyes (each one the size of the brain), extra long tarsus bone in the hind feet (which gave the species its name), and velvety fur. They are the only entirely carnivorous primates known, feasting mainly on insects, but also able to catch and eat snakes, birds, lizards and bats.

Photo courtesy of Irina Ovchinnikova.

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