Distribution

The majority of the information on how the aye-aye's middle digit functions within the cavities formed by wood-boring insects comes from captive studies. Until relatively recently, the aye-aye's nocturnal and largely solitary lifestyle prevented researchers from understanding its behavior, not to mention social structure, in the

Figure 8. Drawing of an aye-aye tap-foraging, with its large ears pointed forward. Drawing by J. Wolf (Owen, 1866).

wild. In addition, little was known about its habitat preferences or distribution. In the 1970s, aye-ayes were thought to be restricted to eastern coastal forests below 200 m (Petter and Peyrieras, 1970). However, more recent surveys based on identification of secondary signs of feeding or nesting have revealed that aye-ayes seem to be able to adapt to different habitat types, from eastern humid forests (Ganzhorn and Rabesoa, 1986a,b) to western dry forests (Iwano et al., 1991), from primary forest (Andriamasimanana, 1994; Sterling, 1993b) to degraded patchy forests and plantations (Ancrenaz et al., 1994; Andriamasimanana, 1994; Petter, 1977) (Figure 9). To date, little is known about the population density of aye-ayes in any part of Madagascar where the species is found (Sterling, 1994c), mainly because it is extremely difficult to locate them with traditional survey and census techniques.

Figure 9. Distributional map of Daubentonia based on verified sight records, interviews with villagers, signs of feeding and nesting, and museum specimens. Map by Kevin Koy © AMNH-CBC. Sources: Andriamasimanana et al. (2001); Britt (2002); Britt et al.

(1999); Colquhoun (1998); de Roland, R. (personal communication); Goodman, S., and Wilmé, L. (personal communication); Hansen et al. (2003); Rahajanirina and Dollar (2004); Randrianarisoa et al. (1999); Sterling (1998); Tombomiadana and Rakotonravony

Figure 9. Distributional map of Daubentonia based on verified sight records, interviews with villagers, signs of feeding and nesting, and museum specimens. Map by Kevin Koy © AMNH-CBC. Sources: Andriamasimanana et al. (2001); Britt (2002); Britt et al.

(1999); Colquhoun (1998); de Roland, R. (personal communication); Goodman, S., and Wilmé, L. (personal communication); Hansen et al. (2003); Rahajanirina and Dollar (2004); Randrianarisoa et al. (1999); Sterling (1998); Tombomiadana and Rakotonravony

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