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3 new lemur species identified in Madagascar
wildmadagascar.org
November 27, 2006


3 new lemur species identified in Madagascar


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3 new lemur species identified in Madagascar
wildmadagascar.org
November 27, 2006




Genetic analysis has revealed three previously unknown species of lemurs on the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar.

The newly described lemurs are all mouse lemurs, one of the world's smallest primates. These lively lemurs are found in virtually all of Madagascar's forests where they feed on insects, fruit, and plant sap. Nocturnal, mouse lemurs betray their presence with high-pitched chirps.

The researchers who made the discovery say that it took 14 months of difficult fieldwork to find the lemurs, which have been named Microcebus bongolavensis, Microcebus danfossi and Microcebus lokobensis. The lemurs are described in the current online edition of the journal Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. Gillian Olivieri, a doctoral student at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Hanover, Germany, was the lead author.


Microcebus bongolavensis.

Microcebus danfossi

Microcebus lokobensis
All images courtesy of the University of Veterinary Medicine in Hanover, Germany
Since 2000 the number of known mouse lemur species have nearly doubled from 8 to 15, the scientists caution that the number may be revised slightly if further genetic testing shows that the other named mouse lemurs are not actually unique species. In total, Madagascar is home to some 90 types of lemurs. Lemurs are found naturally only on the island of Madagascar (one species has been introduced to neighboring Comoros). Some species are highly endangered due to habitat loss and hunting. Madagascar lost its largest lemur species when humans arrived some 1500 years ago.

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Lemur species named after British comedian. Researchers from the University of Zurich have named a newly discovered species of lemur after British comedian John Cleese in honor of his work with the primates from Madagascar. According to the university, the lemur's name is a tribute to Cleese's promotion of the plight of lemurs in the movie "Fierce Creatures" and documentary "Operation Lemur with John Cleese."

Two tiny lemur species discovered in Madagascar. German and Malagasy primatologists have discovered two new species of lemurs, naming one of them after Steve Goodman, a Field Museum scientist who has devoted nearly two decades to studying the animals of Madagascar.

3 new lemurs named in Madagascar. To recognize an internationally renowned primatologist and champion of Madagascar's unique biodiversity, scientists who discovered three new species of mouse lemur on the island nation have named one in honor of Russell A. Mittermeier, the president of Conservation International.

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