Sunday, January 8, 2012

New Mouse Lemur Species Described in Eastern Madagascar

Gerp's mouse lemur (Microcebus gerpi).
Photo by  Blanchard Randrianambinina from WildMadagascar.
There is evidence that a new mouse lemur species has been discovered in eastern Madagascar. While conducting survey and distributional data of mouse lemurs in the Sahafina Forest (inside Mantadia National Park) between 2008-2009, German scientists (Radespiel et al., 2011) came upon a mouse lemur species that is not only highly divergent in all molecular analyses from all previously described mouse lemur species but also differs morphologically from other species of mouse lemurs that live in the area.

Named after GERP (Groupe d'√Čtude et de Recherche sur les Primates de Madagascar), the newly described Gerp's mouse lemur (Microcebus gerpi) weighs in at about 2.4 ounces. The distribution of M. gerpi is not fully unknown but the researchers posit that their habitat is highly fragmented.

It's closest neighbor, the Goodman's mouse lemur (Microcebus lehilahytsara) is much smaller in size compared to M. gerpi. Goodman's mouse lemur was described in early 2007.

Goodman mouse lemur (Microcebus lehilahytsara).
Photo from Primatology.net.
For more, please read Tiny lemur discovered in Madagascar forest and the paper that described the new species by Radespiel et al. (2011).

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