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Any of three species (genus Tarsius, family Tarsiidae) of nocturnal prosimian primates found on several South Asian islands. Tarsiers have large, goggling eyes and a round head that can be rotated 180°. The ears are large, membranous, and almost constantly in motion. Tarsiers are 4–6 in. (9–16 cm) long; the thin, tufted tail of about twice that length provides balance and support. The gray to dark brown fur is thick and silky. Tarsiers cling vertically to trees and leap from trunk to trunk. They have greatly elongated hind limbs and disklike adhesive pads on the digit tips. Tarsiers prey mainly on insects. The well-furred newborn is born with eyes open.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on tarsier, visit Britannica.com.