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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Aye-aye \Aye"-aye`\, n. [From the native name, prob. from its cry.] (Zo["o]l.) A singular nocturnal quadruped, allied to the lemurs, found in Madagascar ( Cheiromys Madagascariensis), remarkable for its long fingers, sharp nails, and rodent-like incisor teeth.


n. A singular nocturnal quadruped, the lemur (taxlink Daubentonia madagascariensis species noshow=1), found in Madagascar and remarkable for its long fingers, sharp nails, and rodent-like incisor teeth.


n. nocturnal lemur with long bony fingers and rodent-like incisor teeth closely related to the lemurs [syn: Daubentonia madagascariensis]


The aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) is a lemur, a strepsirrhine primate native to Madagascar that combines rodent-like teeth that perpetually grow and a special thin middle finger.

It is the world's largest nocturnal primate, and is characterized by its unusual method of finding food; it taps on trees to find grubs, then gnaws holes in the wood using its forward slanting incisors to create a small hole in which it inserts its narrow middle finger to pull the grubs out. This foraging method is called percussive foraging which takes up 5-41% of foraging time. The only other animal species known to find food in this way is the striped possum. From an ecological point of view the aye-aye fills the niche of a woodpecker, as it is capable of penetrating wood to extract the invertebrates within.

The aye-aye is the only extant member of the genusDaubentonia and family Daubentoniidae. It is currently classified as Endangered by the IUCN; and a second species, Daubentonia robusta, appears to have become extinct at some point within the last 1000 years.

Usage examples of "aye-aye".

You can learn everything from Azygous and Aye-Ayes to Zebus and Zwitterions.

All the aye-aye had to do was do what aye-ayes have been doing for millions of years - sit in a tree and hide.

The few aye-ayes that were known to exist in 1985 were to be found (or more usually not found) on a tiny, idyllic, rainforest island called Nosy Mangabe, just off the north-east coast of Madagascar to which they had been removed twenty years earlier.

A prattle of aye-ayes settled the issue for the moment, but did nothing for Eric Stiles's stomach, or his icy fingers, or his tingling feet.