Tarsius syrichta 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Primates Tarsiidae

Scientific Name: Tarsius syrichta
Species Authority: (Linnaeus, 1758)
Common Name(s):
English Philippine Tarsier, Phillipine Tarsier
French Tarsier Des Philippines
Tarsius carbonarius Heude, 1898
Tarsius fraterculus Miller, 1911
Tarsius philippinensis Meyer, 1894
Taxonomic Notes: Hill (1955) recognized populations from Samar and Leyte (T. s. syrichta), Mindanao (T. s. carbonarius), and Bohol (T. s. fraterculus) as distinct subspecies. Niemtiz (1984) synonymized these, but Brandon-Jones et al. (2004) accepted them as dubious taxa that required more research.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Shekelle, M. & Arboleda, I.
Reviewer(s): Mittermeier, R.A. & Rylands, A.B. (Primate Red List Authority)
Listed as Near Threatened, based on an estimated significant decline over the last three generations (approximately 20 years), but less than 30%, based habitat loss (the species occurs at higher densities in less disturbed forest habitats) and because of harvesting for the pet trade. Almost qualifies as threatened under criterion A2d.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to the southeastern Philippines. It is restricted to the greater Mindanao faunal region, where it is found on Bohol, Dinagat, Leyte, Mindanao (Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental, South Cotabato, and Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur provinces), and Samar (Heaney et al. 1998). It is also reported from Basilan (Lawrence 1939), Biliran, Maripipi (Rickart et al. 1993), and Mindanao in Bukidnon province (Sanborn 1953).
Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):750
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:It is locally common and widespread, largely because of its tolerance of second growth habitat (Dagosto and Gebo 1995). However, it clearly occurs at higher densities in less disturbed habitats (I. Arboleda pers. comm.).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The species occurs in both secondary and primary forest (although it is most abundant in the latter), from sea level up to 750 m. It is found at lower densities in edge habitats and secondary growth with many pole-sized trees and low-stature vegetation, as well as in gardens and other degraded habitats including agricultural areas and plantations. It feeds on small lizards, frogs, and insects.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are several contributing factors that make this species susceptible to extinction (Wright et al. 2003): infant mortality rates, both in the wild and in captivity, are very high; highly specialized diet; relatively limited geographical range; high population density and extensive habitat destruction. Although it is clearly adaptable to anthropogenic habitats that contain bushes or trees, it occurs at higher densities in less disturbed habitats, especially in primary forest (very little of which remains within its range) (I. Arboleda pers. comm.). It is also heavily harvested as food and especially for the pet trade. This is illegal, but there are recent anecdotal reports that the pet markets in Manila are being flooded with tarsiers retailing at less than PhP500 per individual (I. Arboleda pers. comm.).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species is included in Appendix II of CITES and is protected under government law in the Philippines. Surveys of population status, particularly to determine its ability to persist in non-forest areas in the long-term, as well as taxonomic research, are needed. The species would also benefit from tighter controls on harvest and trade.

This species occurs in a number of protected areas.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.3. Artificial/Terrestrial - Plantations
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.4. Artificial/Terrestrial - Rural Gardens
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.6. Artificial/Terrestrial - Subtropical/Tropical Heavily Degraded Former Forest
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.1. Harvest management
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.2. Trade management
4. Education & awareness -> 4.3. Awareness & communications
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.2. National level

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
In-Place Species Management
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:Yes
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.1. Housing & urban areas
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.1. Shifting agriculture
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.2. Small-holder farming
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.3. Agro-industry farming
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

1. Research -> 1.1. Taxonomy
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
1. Research -> 1.6. Actions
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓ 

♦  Pets/display animals, horticulture
 Local : ✓   National : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Brandon-Jones, D., Eudey, A. A., Geissman, T., Groves, C. P., Melnick, D. J., Morales, J. C., Shekelle, M. and Stewart, C. B. 2004. Asian primate classification. International Journal of Primatology 25(1): 97–164.

Dagosto, M. and Gebo, D. 1997. A preliminary study of the Philippine tarsier in Leyte. Asian Primates 6: 5–8.

Dagosto, M., Gebo, D. L. and Dolino, C. 2001. Positional behavior and social organization of the Philippine tarsier (Tarsius syrichta). Primates 42: 233–243.

Groves C. 2001. Primate Taxonomy. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.

Heaney, L.R., Balete, D.S., Dollar, M.L., Alcala, A.C., Dans, A.T.L., Gonzales, P.C., Ingle, N.R., Lepiten, M.V., Oliver, W.L.R., Ong, P.S., Rickart, E.A., Tabaranza Jr., B.R. and Utzurrum, R.C.B. 1998. A synopsis of the mammalian fauna of the Philippine Islands. Fieldiana: Zoology (New Series) 88: 1–61.

Hill, W. C. O. 1955. Primates: Comparative Anatomy and Taxonomy. II. Haplorhini: Tarsioidea. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, Scotland.

IUCN. 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 5 October 2008).

Jachowski, D. and Pizzaras, C. 2005. Introducing an innovative semi-captive environment for the Philippine tarsier (Tarsier syrichta). Zoo Biology 24(1): 101–109.

Lawrence, B. L. 1939. Collections from the Philippine Islands. Mammals. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 86: 28-73.

Neri-Arboleda, I. 2006. Genetic and morphologic variations of inter-island populations of the Philippine tarsier Tarsius syrichta: basis for regional biodiversity conservation final report.

Neri-Arboleda, I., Stott, P. and Arboleda, N. P. 2002. Home ranges, spatial movements and habitat associations of the Philippine tarsier (Tarsius syrichta) in Corella, Bohol. Journal of Zoology (London) 257(3): 387–402.

Niemitz, C. 1984. Taxonomy and distribution of the genus Tarsius Storr, 1780. In: C. Niemitz (ed.), Biology of Tarsiers, pp. 1–16. Gustav Fischer, Stuttgart, New York, USA.

Rickart, E.A., Heaney, L.R., Heidman, P.D. and Utzurrum, R.C.B. 1993. The distribution and ecology of mammals on Leyte, Biliran, and Maripipi islands, Philippines. Fieldiana: Zoology 72: 1-62.

Sanborn, C. C. 1953. Mammals from Mindanao, Philippine Islands collected by the Danish Philippine Expedition, 1951-1952. Videnskabelige Meddelelser fra Dansk Naturhistorisk Forening 115: 238-288.

Wright, P. C., Simons, E. L. and Gursky, S. 2003. Tarsiers: Past, Present, and Future. Rutgers University Press.

Citation: Shekelle, M. & Arboleda, I. 2008. Tarsius syrichta. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T21492A9289252. . Downloaded on 22 January 2017.
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