Northern Mouse Lemur (Mirza zaza)


MORPHOLOGY:
This species has a long tail and ears that are large and membranous. The pelage is short and grayish-brown that turns gray ventrally (Kappeler et al., 2005). The long and bushy tail is darker towards the tip (Kappeler et al., 2005). The ears are relatively short and rounded (Kappeler et al., 2005). This species has two pair of mammae, one pectoral and one abdominal (Tattersall, 1982). The hindlimbs are slightly longer than the forelimbs (Kappeler et al., 2005).

RANGE:
This arboreal species is found in the country of Madagascar at Ambato and Pasandava (Kappeler et al., 2005).

ECOLOGY:
This nocturnal species will sleep in nests, sharing the nest with more than 4 individuals (2-8), including several adult males (Kappeler et al., 2005).

LOCOMOTION:
The northern mouse lemur moves through the forest quadrupedally, and is capable of some leaping (Fleagle, 1988).

SOCIAL BEHAVIOR:
The northern mouse lemur is more promiscuous as compared to Coquerel's mouse lemur, Mirza coquereli (Kappeler et al., 2005).

VOCAL COMMUNICATION:
purring: This weak noise is emitted by the infant when licked by the mother (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979). This sounds like "purring" (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979).

"pui" call: This is a low-pitched mother-infant contact call (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979). This call is heard right before dawn (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979).

mating call: This call is composed of a high-pitched whistle followed by a "decrescendo" squeak (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979). This call is emitted by males and females and may be uttered reciprocally (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979). This call is emitted at the moment of estrus (Pages, 1980).

cohesion call: This call sounds like "hou" and is low in frequency (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979). This call has also been described to sound like "hum" or "hein" (Pages, 1980). This call has also been described to sound like "hn" (Stanger, 1995). The fundamental frequency for this call is located below 500 hertz (Stanger, 1995). This call is uttered when an individual is moving and may be heard whether or not a conspecific is in the area (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979). This call is also heard by mothers when they approach their infants (Stanger, 1995).

adult contact call: This call sounds like a drawn out "ptiao" sound (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979). This call resembles the "pui" call (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979). This call can occur in rapid sequences between adults, and this serves as the call and the response between adults (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979).

male single note call: This call consists of a short intense whistle which is uttered by the male from the central part of the home range (Pages, 1980). This call may serve as a territorial call and is responded to by other males (Pages, 1980).

alarm call: This call sounds like a "ptiak" sound (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979). This call has also been described to like "croak" (Pages, 1980). This call has also been described to sound like "zek" (Stanger, 1995). When this was uttered by an individual in captivity other conspecifics looked down at the ground (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979).

contact-rejection call: This call is uttered by adults and during fighting this call which can be described as a grunt crescendo becoming more high-pitched (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979). This call sounds like "tisk-tisk-tisk" (Pages, 1980).

distress call: This call consists of short calls which are high in pitch that are repeated at a high intensity with weak grunts occurring during the duration (Petter and Charles-Dominique, 1979).

OLFACTORY COMMUNICATION:
punctuated urine marking: This is a marking type where urine is used and it's purpose is to demarcate a territory (Pages, 1980).

anogenital dragging: This a marking type where feces and glandular secretions may also be used with urine to demarcate a territory (Pages, 1980).

salivary marking: This is a marking type where secretions from the salivary glands are used to demarcate a territory (Pages, 1980).

VISUAL COMMUNICATION:

TACTILE COMMUNICATION:
social grooming: This is where individual grooms another removing dead skin and/or parasites. This serves to strengthen the social bond between the two individuals.

REPRODUCTION:
The number of young at birth is twins with the occasional triplet, and the interbirth interval is about a year. The northern mouse lemur has been found to reproduce months before Coquerel's mouse lemur, Mirza coquereli. Mating occurs in July and August (Kappeler et al., 2005).

REFERENCES:
Fleagle, J. G. 1988. Primate Adaptation and Evolution. Academic Press: New York.

Kappeler, P.M., Rasoloarison, R.M., Razafimanantsoa, L., Walter, L., and Roos, C. 2005. Morphology, behaviour and molecular evolution of giant mouse lemurs (Mirza spp.) Gray, 1870, with description of a new species. Primate Report. Vol. 71, 3-26.

Pages, E. 1980. Ethoecology of Microcebus coquereli during the dry season. In Nocturnal Malagasy Primates: Ecology, Physiology, and Behavior. eds. P. Charles-Dominique, H.M. Cooper, A. Hladik, C.M. Hladik, E. Pages, G.F. Pariente, A. Petter-Rousseaux, and A. Schilling. Academic Press: New York.

Petter, J.J. and Charles-Dominique, P. 1979. Vocal communication in prosimians. In The Study of Prosimian Behavior. eds. G.A. Doyle and R.D. Martin. Academic Press: New York.

Stanger, K.F. 1995. Vocalizations of some cheirogaleid prosimians evaluated in a phylogenetic context. In Creatures of the Dark: The Nocturnal Prosimians. eds. L. Altermn, G.A. Doyle, M.K. Izard. Plenum Press: New York.

Tattersall, I. 1982. The Primates of Madagascar. Columbia University Press: New York.

Last Updated: January 28, 2007.
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