The Philippine tarsier, known locally as mawmag in Cebuano/Visayan and mamag in Luzon, is an endangered species of tarsier endemic to the Philippines. It is found in the southeastern part of the archipelago, particularly in the islands of Bohol, Samar, Leyte and Mindanao.
It is a member of the approximately 45 million year old family Tarsiidae, whose name is derived from its elongated “tarsus” or ankle bone. It is the only member of the genus Carlito, after the species was removed from the genus Tarsius. The new genus is named after Carlito Pizarras, known as the tarsier man, is the field manager at the Philippine tarsier and wildlife sanctuary on the island of Bohol, and a champion of tarsier conservation in the Philippines.
Like all tarsiers, the Philippine tarsier’s eyes are fixed in its skull; they cannot turn in their sockets. Instead, a special adaptation in the neck allows its round head to be rotated 180 degrees. The eyes are disproportionately large, having the largest eye-to-body size ratio of all mammals. These huge eyes provide this nocturnal animal with excellent night vision. The large membranous ears are mobile, appearing to be almost constantly moving, allowing the tarsier to hear any movement.
The Philippine tarsier has thin, rough fur which is colored gray to dark brown. The narrow tail, usually used for balance, is naked or bald except for a tuft of hair at the end, and is about twice the body length. Its elongated “tarsus,” or ankle bone, which gives the tarsier its name, allows it to jump at least three meters from tree to tree without having to touch the ground. Its long digits are tipped with rounded pads that allow Tarsier to cling easily to trees and to grip almost any surface.
Photo Credit: Mikael