noun, plural: western tarsiers
A tarsier species that is endemic to the Malay archipelago, such as on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra
Tarsiers are species of the family Tarsiidae of the order Primates. They are haplorrhines, i.e. dry-nosed, as opposed to Strepsirrhini primates, which are wet-nosed (rhinarium). The tarsiers are arboreal species and therefore are found in the rainforests. Tarsiers are characterized by their enormous eyes and large, thin ears relative to their head. Their eyes are also fixed in its skull. Their name (tarsier) is derived from another distinctive feature, i.e. having an elongated tarsus (ankle bone). This enables them to leap from tree to tree with ease.
Western tarsiers are endemic to the Malay archipelago, especially on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. As with other tarsiers, they are arboreal and nocturnal. The scientific name for western tarsiers is Tarsius bancanus or Cephalopachus bancanus. They are described as distinct species from other tarsier species such as the Philippine tarsier and those in Sulawesi, Indonesia.1 There are also four subspecies of western tarsiers although there are doubts if they are subspecies or should have a name as a separate taxon. These subspecies are as follows:
- C. b. bancanus
- C. b. saltator (Belitung Island tarsier)
- C. b. borneanus (Bornean tarsier)
- C. b. natunensis (Natuna Islands tarsier)
Western tarsiers have pale to olive or reddish brown to pale or dark gray-brown fur. Their tail is exceptionally long, i.e. with a reach of 181 to 154 mm.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Subphylum: Vertebrata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Primates
- Family: Tarsiidae
- Genus: Tarsius or Cephalopachus
- Tarsius bancanus
- Cephalopachus bancanus
Other common name(s):
- Horsfield's tarsier
1 Groves, C.; Shekelle, M. (2010). "The Genera and Species of Tarsiidae". International Journal of Primatology. 31: 1071.