But known locally as mawumagmagô, and mamag

Common names are not officially defined. They are based on everyday conversational language and may differ by country, region, profession, community, or other factors. As a result, it is not unusual for a species to have more than one common name.

Scientific names are in Latin and they are written in italics. They are standardized and for everyone, no matter what language you may speak. They are bound by a formal naming system, called binominal nomenclature, that has strict rules. Scientific names prevent misidentification. Those names only change if a species, or its genus, is officially redesignated by experts.


…although, because they are so unique, there is on-going debate about whether they should be categorized with monkeys. 

As their name suggests, Philppine tarsiers are native to the Philippine archipelago. Populations of these small primates are primarily found in the southeast portion of the archipelago—notably the islands of Bohol, Dinagat, Siarago, Maripipi, Samar, Leyte, Basilan, and Mindano. They are endemic to these islands and found nowhere else.

  • Philippine tarsiers are among the world’s smallest primates
  • Nocturnal, they are built to see, hear, and hunt in darkness
  • Large eyes are fixed in place. They turn their heads like owls to see what is beside them.
  • Hairless ridged ears detect even slighted insect movement
This means that they are likely to become endangered in the near future

Philippine tarsier populations are decreasing. The main threat they face is habitat loss. Philippine tarsiers require a very specific type of habitat, which limits their potential liveable range. In addition, they are hunted by humans and sought after as pets. However, they typically die in captivity. Philippine tarsiers also have a high rate of infant mortality rate, which, coupled with low birth rates, poses additional problems for their population stability.

  1. Philippine tarsiers die in captivity. They have very specific dietary and environmental needs that cannot be supported in captivity.
  2. Primates are never domesticated. They always remain wild. 
  3. Caged primates are very unhappy and frustrated. They are likely to resist confinement. They are quick and cause damaging bites and scratches. Some die as a result of their captivity.
  4. Many locations have strict regulations that prohibit trading in or keeping primates and endangered species are pets.
  5. Philippine tarsiers belong with other tarsiers in the Philippines. They and their habitats must be protected, not exploited.

Visit the PHILIPPINE TARSIER Primate Species Profile

 Copyright © New England Primate Conservancy 2019. You may freely use and share these learning activities for educational purposes. 
For questions or comments, e-mail us at [email protected].