Red mouse lemur

Microcebus rufus

SUBFAMILY

Cheirogaleinae

TAXONOMY

Microcebus rufus F. Geoffroy, 1834, Madagascar. OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Brown mouse lemur; French: Microcebe roux; German: Roter Mausmaki.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Dorsal fur dark rufous brown; ventral fur white or yellowish white. Pale stripe between the eyes, extending almost to the tip of the snout. Ears medium-sized, rounded, membranous, and mobile. Length 5 in (12.5 cm), tail 5.6 in (14 cm); 1.5 oz (43 g) for both sexes.

DISTRIBUTION

Occurs throughout the eastern rainforest of Madagascar, from the extreme north to the far south. Extends westward onto the central plateau as well.

HABITAT

Evergreen rainforest.

BEHAVIOR

Generally solitary when active at night, but have well-developed social networks involving overlapping ranges and shared nests. Accumulate fat in the tail during the period of high rainfall and use this reserve when less active during the dry season.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Feed mainly on fruits and insects (notably beetles), but also eat other animal prey (e.g., small frogs and chameleons) and possibly plant exudates.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Mating system unknown. Strictly seasonal breeding, with births and rearing of offspring during the wet season (October-March), possibly with two successive litters. Ovarian cycle length approximately 50 days. Gestation period about 57 days. Usually two offspring, but occasionally one or three.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not listed by the IUCN, but listed on CITES Appendix I and as endangered by the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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