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Tarsiidae

Tarsiidae (tarsiers; suborder Haplorrhini, infra-order Tarsiiformes) A family of arboreal, nocturnal, insectivorous or carnivorous primates, about the size of rats, in which the upper lip is whole, there is no moist rhinarium, and the hind legs are very long and used in leaping from tree to tree. The tibia and fibula are fused and the calcaneum and astralagus elongated, but the feet retain their grasping digits. The hallux and pollex are opposable, all digits end in adhesive pads, and apart from the second and third hind digits, which have claws, all digits bear flattened nails. The tail is long. The snout is shortened, the face is sufficiently mobile for it to be used to express emotion, the eyes face forward and are extremely large, and the head is mounted on a neck so mobile that the animal can face directly backwards. The ears are large and mobile, and the sense of hearing is acute. The placenta resembles that of the higher primates, but the uterus that of lemurs. Tarsiers occur only in parts of Indonesia, eastern Malaysia, and the Philippines. There are at least four species, probably more, in a single genus, Tarsius.

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tarsier

tarsier (tär´sēər), small, nocturnal, forest-dwelling prosimian primate, genus Tarsius. There are at least three species found in the Philippines, in Sumatra and Borneo, and in Sulawesi. Tarsiers are about 6 in. (15 cm) long with a 10 in. (25 cm) hairless tail, and weigh about 4.5 oz (130 g). The body is covered with dense brown fur. Enormous round eyes are set close together in a flat face. Tarsiers' legs are specialized for climbing and jumping and end in long, thin digits bearing adhesive pads. They feed on insects and reptiles. They are believed to mate for life and to form family groups. Tarsiers are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Primates, family Tarsiidae.

See M. Kavanagh, Monkeys, Apes and Other Primates (1983); J. R. Napier and P. H. Napier, The Natural History of the Primates (1985).

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tarsier

tarsier Any of several species of nocturnal primates of Indonesia. They are small, squat animals with large eyes, long tails and monkey-like hands and feet. Family Tarsiidae; genus Tarsius.

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tarsiers

tarsiers (Tarsius) See TARSIIDAE.

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tarsier

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