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

Mouse lemurs
Pygmy mouse lemur (M. myoxinus)
CITES Appendix I (CITES)[2]
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Suborder: Strepsirrhini
Family: Cheirogaleidae
Genus: Microcebus
É. Geoffroy, 1834[1]
Type species
Lemur pusillus
É. Geoffroy, 1795
About 25 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

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 were two known mouse lemur species in 1992; by 2016, there were 24.[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 pound (2 grams).[8]

As written in Genetics, mouse lemurs help to provide a more extensive understanding of the biology, behavior, and health of primates. Mouse lemurs are categorized as prosimian primates. They are among the smallest and most rapidly developing primates and are becoming more abundant in Madagascar and around the world. These tiny creatures are helping to prove valuable information about the biology and evolution of primates through the analysis of their phenotypes and mutations, especially as a model organism for human medical research.[9]

Reproduction and evolutionEdit

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.[10] In sexually inactive females the vulva is sealed, during the reproductive cycle the vulva is open. The vaginal morphology is also based on the time of day.[11] Analysis of the genomes of five different mouse lemur species revealed that Madagascar’s biogeography had been undergoing change before the arrival of humans.[12]



  1. ^ a b McKenna, MC; Bell, SK (1997). Classification of Mammals: Above the Species Level. Columbia University Press. p. 335. ISBN 978-0-231-11013-6.
  2. ^ "Checklist of CITES Species". CITES. UNEP-WCMC. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  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. (eds.). 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. ^ Anitei, Stefan (21 April 2008). "Top 10 Brains". softpedia.
  9. ^ Ezran, Camille; Karanewsky, Caitlin J.; Pendleton, Joseph L.; Sholtz, Alex; Kransnow, Maya R.; Willick, Jason; Razafindrakoto, Andriamahery; Zohdy, Sarah; Albertelli, Megan A. (June 2017). Mark A. Krasnow also contributed as a writer. "The Mouse Lemur, a Genetic Model Organism for Primate Biology, Behavior, and Health". Genetics. 206 (2): 651–664. doi:10.1534/genetics.116.199448. PMC 5499178. PMID 28592502.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ Rina Evasoa, Mamy; Radespiel, Ute; Hasiniaina, Alida F.; Rasoloharijaona, Solofonirina; Randrianambinina, Blanchard; Rakotondravony, Romule; Zimmermann, Elke (2018-05-16). "Variation in reproduction of the smallest-bodied primate radiation, the mouse lemurs (Microcebus spp.): A synopsis". American Journal of Primatology. 80 (7): e22874. doi:10.1002/ajp.22874. ISSN 0275-2565. PMID 29767414. S2CID 21709451.
  12. ^ Golembiewski, Kate (18 July 2016). "Ridiculously Cute Mouse Lemurs Hold Key to Madagascar's Past". Field Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 13 January 2022.
  13. ^ 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. hdl:10161/6237. S2CID 17614597.
  14. ^ a b Louis, Edward E. (2008). "Revision of the Mouse Lemurs, Microcebus (Primates, Lemuriformes), of Northern and Northwestern Madagascar with Descriptions of Two New Species at Montagne d'Ambre National Park and Antafondro Classified Forest" (PDF). Primate Conservation. 23: 19–38. doi:10.1896/052.023.0103. S2CID 84533039. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-02-05.
  15. ^ a b c Stafford, Ned (2006-11-20). "Nature News: Lemur boom on Madagascar". Nature: news061120–15. doi:10.1038/news061120-15. S2CID 84701328. Retrieved 2007-12-10.
  16. ^ 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 (9): 2029–2045. doi:10.1111/mec.13604. PMID 26946180. S2CID 43912903.
  17. ^ 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. S2CID 8473176.
  18. ^ "New Primate Species Discovered on Madagascar". Archived from the original on 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2008-07-15.
  19. ^ 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 (3): 1–15. doi:10.1007/s10764-013-9672-1. S2CID 17860060.
  20. ^ a b Pappas, Stephanie (26 March 2013). "Tiny Lemur Twins Are 2 New Species". LiveScience.
  21. ^ Schüßler, Dominik; Blanco, Marina B.; Salmona, Jordi; Poelstra, Jelmer; Andriambeloson, Jean B.; Miller, Alex; Randrianambinina, Blanchard; Rasolofoson, David W.; Mantilla‐Contreras, Jasmin; Chikhi, Lounès; Louis, Edward E. (2020). "Ecology and morphology of mouse lemurs (Microcebus spp.) in a hotspot of microendemism in northeastern Madagascar, with the description of a new species". American Journal of Primatology. 82 (9): e23180. doi:10.1002/ajp.23180. ISSN 1098-2345. PMID 32716088.

External linksEdit