Mouse lemur

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Mouse lemurs
Microcebus myoxinus.jpg
Pygmy mouse lemur (M. myoxinus)
CITES Appendix I (CITES)[1]
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Suborder: Strepsirrhini
Family: Cheirogaleidae
Genus: Microcebus
É. Geoffroy, 1834[2]
About 24 species
Microcebus range map.svg
Combined distribution of Microcebus[3]
  • Murilemur Gray, 1870
  • Scartes Swainson, 1835
  • Myscebus Lesson, 1840
  • Azema Gray, 1870
  • Gliscebus Lesson, 1840
  • Myocebus Wagner, 1841

The mouse lemurs are nocturnal lemurs of the genus Microcebus. Like all lemurs, mouse lemurs are native to Madagascar.[4]

Mouse lemurs have a combined head, body and tail length of less than 27 centimetres (11 in), making them the smallest primates[5] (the smallest species being Madame Berthe's mouse lemur); however, their weight fluctuates in response to daylight duration.[6] Lemurs and Mouse Lemurs were announced by the IUCN as the most endangered of all vertebrates. There are about 24 mouse lemur species identified by 2016. There were only 2 known mouse lemur species by 1992.[7] It was estimated that the 24 mouse lemur species evolved from a common ancestor 10 million years ago. Evolution of mouse lemurs is an example for adaptive radiation.[citation needed]

Mouse lemurs are omnivorous; their diets are diverse and include insect secretions, arthropods, small vertebrates, gum, fruit, flowers, nectar, and also leaves and buds depending on the season.[citation needed]

Mouse lemurs are considered cryptic species - with very little morphological differences between the various species, but with high genetic diversity. Recent evidence points to differences in their mating calls, which is very diverse. Since mouse lemurs are nocturnal, they might not have evolved to look differently, but had evolved various auditory and vocal systems.[citation needed]

Mouse lemurs have the smallest known brain of any primate, at just 0.004 pounds (2 grams).[8]

Reproduction and evolution[edit]

Mouse lemurs are also known for their sperm competition. During breeding seasons, the testicles of male mouse lemurs increase in size to about 130% of their normal size. This was speculated to increase the sperm production thereby conferring an advantage for the individual to bear more offspring. There are various hypotheses relating the rapid evolution of mouse lemur species to this sperm competition.[9]



  1. ^ "Checklist of CITES Species". CITES. UNEP-WCMC. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  2. ^ a b McKenna, MC; Bell, SK (1997). Classification of Mammals: Above the Species Level. Columbia University Press. p. 335. ISBN 0-231-11013-8.
  3. ^ "IUCN 2014". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. International Union for Conservation of Nature. 2012. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  4. ^ a b Groves, C.P. (2005). "Microcebus". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. OCLC 62265494.
  5. ^ "Primate Factsheets: Mouse lemur (Microcebus) Taxonomy, Morphology, & Ecology".
  6. ^ Andrès, M; Gachot-Neveu, H; Perret, M (2001). "Genetic determination of paternity in captive grey mouse lemurs: pre-copulatory sexual competition rather than sperm competition in a nocturnal prosimian?". Behaviour. 138 (8): 1047–63. doi:10.1163/156853901753286560.
  7. ^ "Yoder Lab - Research".
  8. ^
  9. ^ Folia Primatol (Basel). 2003 Sep-Dec;74(5-6):355-66. Mating system in mouse lemurs: theories and facts, using analysis of paternity. Andrès M1, Solignac M, Perret M.
  10. ^ Mittermeier, Russell A.; Ganzhorn, Jörg U.; Konstant, William R.; Glander, Kenneth; Tattersall, Ian; Groves, Colin P.; Rylands, Anthony B.; Hapke, Andreas; Ratsimbazafy, Jonah; Mayor, Mireya I.; Louis, Edward E.; Rumpler, Yves; Schwitzer, Christoph; Rasoloarison, Rodin M. (December 2008). "Lemur Diversity in Madagascar". International Journal of Primatology. 29 (6): 1607–1656. doi:10.1007/s10764-008-9317-y.
  11. ^ "New Primate Species Discovered on Madagascar".
  12. ^ a b c "Nature News: Lemur boom on Madagascar". Nature. 2006-11-20. Retrieved 2007-12-10.
  13. ^ a b "Revision of the Mouse Lerst5 = R." (PDF). Primate Conservation. 23: 19–38. 2008. doi:10.1896/052.023.0103. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-02-05.
  14. ^ Radespiel, U.; Ratsimbazafy, J. H.; Rasoloharijaona, S.; Raveloson, H.; Andriaholinirina, N.; Rakotondravony, R.; Randrianarison, R. M.; Randrianambinina, B. (2011). "First indications of a highland specialist among mouse lemurs (Microcebus spp.) and evidence for a new mouse lemur species from eastern Madagascar". Primates. 53 (2): 157–170. doi:10.1007/s10329-011-0290-2. PMID 22198090.
  15. ^ a b Rasoloarison, Rodin M.; Weisrock, David W.; Yoder, Anne D.; Rakotondravony, Daniel; Kappeler, Peter M. (2013). "Two New Species of Mouse Lemurs (Cheirogaleidae: Microcebus) from Eastern Madagascar". International Journal of Primatology. 34: 1–15. doi:10.1007/s10764-013-9672-1.
  16. ^ a b Pappas, Stephanie (26 March 2013). "Tiny Lemur Twins Are 2 New Species". LiveScience.
  17. ^ a b c Scott Hotaling; Mary E. Foley; Nicolette M. Lawrence; Jose Bocanegra; Marina B. Blanco; Rodin Rasoloarison; Peter M. Kappeler; Meredith A. Barrett; Anne D. Yoder; David W. Weisrock (2016). "Species discovery and validation in a cryptic radiation of endangered primates: coalescent-based species delimitation in Madagascar's mouse lemurs". Molecular Ecology. 25: 2029–2045. doi:10.1111/mec.13604. PMID 26946180.

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