Research Highlights: Aye-aye lemur picks nose using the entire length of its finger

lemur picks nose using the entire length of its finger
Credit: Anne-Claire Fabre/Renaud Boistel


Aye-aye lemur picks nose using the entire length of its finger

  • Rhinotillexis is the scientific term for nose picking.
  • Nose picking is common in humans and remains poorly understood.
  • There are several primates known for nose picking and ingesting the nasal mucus.
  • Researchers speculated that nose picking may have benefits.
  • Researchers observed the first evidence of nose picking in lemurs and relatives with an interesting video showing aye-aye picking its nose.
  • Researchers found that the animal inserts the full length (8 centimeter) of its middle finger into the nasal openings and then licks the nasal mucus.
  • Additionally, researchers discovered that the nose picking behavior can be observed in more than 12 species of primates.
  • Future studies about nose picking in other species of primates and vertebrates may add knowledge on its evolution and perhaps functional role.


A.‐C. Fabre et al. (2022) A review of nose picking in primates with new evidence of its occurrence in Daubentonia madagascariensis, Journal of Zoology. DOI: 10.1111/jzo.13034.

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