New primate species discovered on Madagascar

Jan 09, 2012
A Malagasy-German research team has discovered a new primate species in eastern Madagascar. Photo: B. Randrianambinina

A Malagasy-German research team has discovered a new primate species in the Sahafina Forest in eastern Madagascar, a forest that has not been studied before.

The name of the new species is Gerp’s mouse lemur (Microcebus gerpi), chosen to honour the Malagasy research group GERP (Groupe d’Étude et de Recherche sur les Primates de ). Several researchers of GERP have visited the Sahafina in 2008 and 2009 to create an inventory the local . They captured several mouse lemurs, measured them, took photos and small biopsies for genetic studies, and released them again.

Prof. Ute Radespiel, Institute of Zoology of the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, analysed the samples and the morphological dataset, and confirmed that the animals from the Sahafina Forest belong to an undescribed species of the small nocturnal mouse lemurs.

"We were quite surprised by these findings. The Sahafina Forest is only 50km away from the Mantadia National Park in eastern Madagascar, which contains a different and much smaller , the Goodman’s mouse lemur", commented Prof. Radespiel. In contrast, the Gerp’s mouse lemur belongs to the group of larger mouse lemurs, i.e. has a body mass of about 68g, and is therefore almost "a giant" compared to the Goodman’s mouse lemur (ca. 44g body mass).

The distribution of the Gerp’s mouse lemur is probably restricted to the remaining fragments of lowland evergreen rain forest of this region in eastern Madagascar. Continuing deforestation poses a serious threat for these animals.

The researchers from Hanover/Germany, and Madagascar published their discovery together in the journal Primates.

Explore further: Sloth guts are designed for hanging upside down, study finds

More information: First indications of a highland specialist among mouse lemurs (Microcebus spp.) and evidence for a new mouse lemur species from eastern Madagascar, DOI: 10.1007/s10329-011-0290-2

Provided by Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover

5 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Sir Richard's possible folly

Apr 25, 2011

Moving animals, like the ring-tailed lemur, from one continent to another to save the species hasn't been done often and typically isn’t successful.

Lemur's evolutionary history may shed light on our own

Feb 25, 2008

After swabbing the cheeks of more than 200 lemurs and related primates to collect their DNA, researchers at the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy (IGSP) and Duke Lemur Center now have a much clearer ...

Recommended for you

New critter discovered on whale carcass

23 hours ago

A new species of bug, similar in appearance to the common woodlouse, has been found plastered all over a whale carcass on the floor of the deep Southern Ocean.

Some cows' infertility linked to Y chromosome

Apr 22, 2014

In the beef industry, if a cow does not get pregnant after breeding, she becomes an economic liability in the herd. Lack of calf production can significantly reduce annual revenue for producers.

User comments : 0

More news stories

In the 'slime jungle' height matters

(Phys.org) —In communities of microbes, akin to 'slime jungles', cells evolve not just to grow faster than their rivals but also to push themselves to the surface of colonies where they gain the best access ...

New alfalfa variety resists ravenous local pest

(Phys.org) —Cornell plant breeders have released a new alfalfa variety with some resistance against the alfalfa snout beetle, which has ravaged alfalfa fields in nine northern New York counties and across ...

Former Iron Curtain still barrier for deer

The Iron Curtain was traced by an electrified barbed-wire fence that isolated the communist world from the West. It was an impenetrable Cold War barrier—and for some inhabitants of the Czech Republic it ...

Rainbow trout genome sequenced

Using fish bred at Washington State University, an international team of researchers has mapped the genetic profile of the rainbow trout, a versatile salmonid whose relatively recent genetic history opens ...

Robot scouts rooms people can't enter

(Phys.org) —Firefighters, police officers and military personnel are often required to enter rooms with little information about what dangers might lie behind the door. A group of engineering students at ...