Three new primate species discovered in Madagascar

Courtesy: G Donati

  • Scientists have identified three new species of mouse lemurs in Madagascar, taking the total number of known mouse lemur species to 24.
  • They live in the South and East of Madagascar.
  • As little as 20 years ago, only two species of these small, nocturnal primates were known.
  • New genetic methods and expeditions to remote areas have made the new descriptions possible.

Background

  • Mouse lemurs are small, nocturnal primates, which are found only in Madagascar. They all look very similar with their brown fur and large eyes.
  • One of the species was named Ganzhorn’s mouse lemur (Microcebus ganzhorni), after Jorg Ganzhorn from Hamburg University, who has been engaged in research and protection of lemurs for decades.
  • The second species was named Microcebus manitatra, symbolising the expansion of the range of a subgroup from western Madagascar.
  • The third member, Microcebus boraha, is named after its location on the Island of Sainte Marie in Malagasy Nosy Boraha.
  • According to the “Red List” of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) more than 100 known species of lemurs are threatened by extinction and represent the world’s most endangered group of mammals.

– News Item compiled by Dharma Teja

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