Aye-ayes use their specialized anterior teeth and middle finger to harvest three main food sources—insect larvae from dead trees, inside nutmeat of seeds from the giant Canarium tree (Burseraceae family) and cankerous fungus growing on Intsia (Fabaceae family) trees. The fourth component of the diet is nectar from Traveller's palm (Ravenala madagascariensis) flowers. Ants were occasionally eaten. Using their evergrowing incisors to open the hard exterior of the seed, aye-ayes then scrape the interior out of the Canarium or coconut with their middle finger. Canarium seeds are 60% fat. Using the large ears to listen to dead wood, the aye-aye tap
Aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis). (Illustration by Brian Cress-man)
to determine the location of the larvae, then gnaw open the beetle canals, emerge and rotate their long, thin, mobile fingertip to snag the beetle inside the log and pull it out. The insect larva were from cerambicid, scarab, and other beetle larvae that consume dead wood. These large larvae could weigh 0.2 oz (5 g) and are high in protein (44-70%) and fat (33-44%).
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