A Philippine tarsier (Tarsius syrichta) chews a katydid under dim mesopic light conditions. A paper by Amanda D. Melin et al., in this issue of Proceedings B (http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2013.0189), raises the possibility that such conditions favoured the evolution of enlarged eyes and high-acuity trichromatic vision in the last common ancestor of crown tarsiers, a concept that challenges prevailing views on the adaptive origins of anthropoid primates.
Cover image by Petr Slavik taken during fieldwork on the Tarsius Project.
Today, Dr. Lubomír Peške is heading to the Philippines to continue with activities of the Tarsius project on the Bohol Island. The Tarsius project focuses on conservation of the endangered Philippine tarsier and works in long term cooperation with the Embassy of Czech Republic in Manila. This year the project activities were also supported by Ministry of foreign affairs of Czech Republic as a part of development cooperation.
The newest edition of Czech National Geographic contains a reportage of Zdeněk Lokaj about his travel to Borneo and Bohol, tarsier and the Tarsius project. An interview about tarsiers and also rediscovery of the Dinagat Island cloud rat can be found in the latest edition of Czech Cosmopolitan.
Acoustic communication, that is how the tarsiers talk to each other, was one of the main goals of our research of the Philippine tarsiers living on Bohol Island. Tarsiers as nocturnal animals use especially olfactory and acoustic communication. Thanks to the huge eyes their vision is also very good. The Philippine tarsiers are quite solitary, in opposite to some of related Indonesian species. They spend most of the time alone, during hunting at night as well as daily resting. Therefore, we were interested how rich is their acoustic repertoire. Several months long research during two years, hours and hours spent in the forest and thousands of audio records led us to desired results that have just been published in scientific journal International Journal of Zoology.
The easiest way how to find a tarsier is after sunset. You sit in the forest and wait to hear a whistle-like “loud call”. The loud call is typical for all tarsier species as well as other nocturnal primates and serves in long-distance communication, advertising of the territory or communication with a partner. We have discovered that Philippine tarsiers use three types of these long-distance calls. Moreover, individual differences can be found in these calls. Based on the sound you can recognize which individual is calling. It is for the first time in tarsiers that such individual differences in calls have been revealed. Some other calls are very soft and audible only from immediate proximity. For example a kind of chirping sound that is very similar to ubiquitous sounds of insects and even our experienced hunter Julius had problems with distinguishing it. A big surprise was a sound resembling rather a bird song than a tarsier call. Tarsier mother and baby use other two types of calls that have not been recorded in adult animals.
Our findings have also conservation significance. Based on the calls we can monitor the animals in the wild, record their distribution and distinguish individual. Comparison with other tarsier species can help us to resolve their relationships. The original article can be downloaded here.
Copyright text and audio: Milada Řeháková, the Tarsius Project
Unique tarsier pictures showing tarsier feeding, movement or mother care where published in Daily Mail. Pictures were made by Petr Slavík during his participation in the Tarsius project on Bohol Island, Philippines.
“Who you looking at? Tiny primate uses his big eyes to spot up his dinner from his perch”… Read more
Magazine Koktejl celebrated its 20th birthday on 26th May in Kostelec nad Černými Lesy. Among others wildlife photographer Petr Slavík presented stories about photograohing of wild animals. He joined the Tarsius project in 2009 and made wonderful pictures of philippines tarsiers. We would like to thank Petr Slavik and Koktejl magazin for cooperation and also all of you who supported our project by buying tarsier products.
Please read the story about the Tarsius project, our work and successes recently published on the ARKive website.
“Here at ARKive, we love a conservation success story, and we were delighted when ARKive media donor Dr. Milada Řeháková-Petrů got in touch to share with us the latest news on the Tarsius Project – a research and conservation organisation centred around the Philippine tarsier. Read more…
A Dinagat Island cloud rat, belonging to the biggest and most beautiful rodents of the world, endemic to only one tiny island of the world – Dinagat Island, Philippines, was rediscovered. This species was captured only once in the history, 37 years ago. It belongs to critically endangered species, and was even feared to be extinct until early 2012, when it was observed and video recorded by a scientific couple from Czech Republic.
Cloud rats are the biggest (body size 30-70 cm) and most spectacular murids of the world, endemic only to a few Philippine Islands. They are nocturnal arboreal animals. The Dinagat bushy-tailed cloud rat (Crateromys australis) is the least known among them. So far, it was known only from one specimen captured in 1975. Since then number of scientific expeditions have searched for this elusive species, but with no success. It changed in early 2012 when a programmer Václav Řehák accompanying his wife, zoologist Milada Řeháková on a survey of Dinagat Island tarsiers spotted a huge hairy grey-brown rat with hairy and conspicuously black-white tail searching in the canopy. William Oliver of the Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Foundation, said that Řeháková had called him from the island “full of excitement and frustration” because while her husband had seen it, she had not. Finally, they both saw the cloud rat a week later. The exciting rediscovery was scientifically confirmed and this species was video documented for the first time ever.
Tarsier baby with its mother - photo Milada Řeháková
It is our pleasure to inform you that our article about two cases of predation of the Philippine tarsiers recorded during our fieldwork on Bohol Island in years 2009 and 2010 has been published in scientific journal Acta Ethologica.
The first “victim” was a one month old baby tarsier. This situation was even sadder, because our observation was the first observation of development of young Philippine tarsier in the wild. The other predated tarsier was the first female captured on our second study site in Bilar on Bohol Island. She was relatively small therefore we think she might be young. Maybe it was because of her inexperience that she was found in stomach of a monitor lizard after two weeks of observation.