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: Study shows how chimpanzees share skills

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

World's first microbe 'zoo' opens in Amsterdam

9 hours ago

The world's first "interactive microbe zoo" opened in Amsterdam on Tuesday, shining new light on the tiny creatures that make up two-thirds of all living matter and are vital for our planet's future.

Study shows how chimpanzees share skills

10 hours ago

Evidence of new behaviour being adopted and transmitted socially from one individual to another within a wild chimpanzee community is publishing on September 30 in the open access journal PLOS Biology. This i ...

Little blue penguin back at sea after hospital stint

16 hours ago

Wildbase Recovery Community Trust ambassador and Rangitikei MP Ian McKelvie joined Massey University veterinary staff to release a little blue penguin back into the sea at Himatangi Beach this morning.

User comments : 0