Pygmy Mouse Lemur (Microcebus myoxinus)


MORPHOLOGY:
The pygmy mouse lemur has a mean body mass of 30.6 grams making it the smallest primate in the world (Schmid and Kappeler, 1994). This species has a pelage color which is rufous-brown with an orange tinge on the dorsal side and creamy-white on the ventral side (Schmid and Kappeler, 1994). A white stripe is found running from the lower forehead down the muzzle (Schmid and Kappeler, 1994). A dark stripe runs down the dorsal side (the back) (Schmid and Kappeler, 1994). This species is more gracile, has shorter ears, and has a longer tail than the sympatric Microcebus murinus (Schmid and Kappeler, 1994). Male testes size increases before the breeding season (Schmid and Kappeler, 1994). Males are larger than females during the breeding season, and females are larger than males during the non-breeding season (Schwab, 2000).

RANGE:
The pygmy mouse lemur is found in western Madagascar in the Kirindy forest (Schmid and Kappeler, 1994). This species lives in the dry deciduous forest.

ECOLOGY:
The pygmy mouse lemur is a nocturnal and an arboreal species. Males and females forage separately (Schwab, 2000). During the day this species enters torpor which is decrease in the metabolism and in body temperature to reduce energy constraints (Ortmann and Heldmaier, 1997). Individuals rest in cool, dry places such as holes near the bottom of a trunk in a tree when sleeping during the day (Ortmann and Heldmaier, 1997). During the day this species will sleep in tangles of thin branches surrounded by leaves, old nests of Microcebus coquereli, tree holes, and rolled bark found in trees (Schwab, 2000). The tangles found in thin branches surrounded by leaves are the most common sleeping site of the pygmy mouse lemur, with the sleeping sites located from 2.5 to 12 meters above ground (Schwab, 2000). Individuals sleep solitarily (Schwab, 2000). Since this species sleeps mostly out in the open, i.e. not in a tree hole, there is a greater risk of predation, so sleeping alone may minimize the risk of being detected by a potential predator (Schwab, 2000). Male sleeping were found to be distributed over a larger area than female sleeping sites, and females will reuse the same sleeping site more often than males (Schwab, 2000).

LOCOMOTION:
The pygmy mouse is an arboreal quadruped (Fleagle, 1998).

SOCIAL BEHAVIOR:
The pygmy mouse lemur has a promiscuous mating system based on males testes size, the presence of sperm plugs in female's vaginas, and sexual-size dimorphism (Schwab, 2000).

VOCAL COMMUNICATION:

OLFACTORY COMMUNICATION:

VISUAL COMMUNICATION:

TACTILE COMMUNICATION:

REPRODUCTION:
The breeding season is from September to October (Schmid and Kappeler, 1994).

REFERENCES:
Fleagle, J.G. 1998. Primate Adaptation and Evolution. Academic Press: New York.

Ortmann, S. and Heldmaier, G. 1997. Spontaneous daily torpor in Malagasy mouse lemurs. Naturwissenschaften. Vol. 84, 28-32.

Schmid, J. and Kappeler, P.M. 1994. Sympatric mouse lemurs (Microcebus spp.) in western Madagascar. Folia Primatologica. Vol. 63, 162-170.

Schwab, D. 2000. A preliminary study of spatial distribution and mating system of pygmy mouse lemurs (Microcebus cf myoxinus). American Journal of Primatology. vol. 51, 41-60.

Last Updated: January 22, 2007.
[The Primata] [Primate Evolution] [Primate Taxonomy] [Primate Conservation] [Primate Fact Sheets] [Primate Definitions] [Microcebus Links]