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Mouse lemur


CITES: Appendix I (What is CITES?)
IUCN Red List: M. berthae, M. sambiranensis, M. ravelobensis, M. tavaratra: EN; M. griseorufus, M. murinus, M. rufus: LC; M. jollyae, M. simmonsi, M. bongolavensis, M. danfossi, M. myoxinus, M. mamiratra, M. lehilahytsara, M. mittermeieri: DD (What is Red List?)
Key: EN = Endangered, EN = Endangered, EN = Endangered, EN = Endangered, LC = Least concern, LC = Least concern, LC = Least concern, DD = Data deficient, DD = Data deficient, DD = Data deficient, DD = Data deficient, DD = Data deficient, DD = Data deficient, DD = Data deficient, DD = Data deficient
(Click on species name to see IUCN Red List entry, including detailed status assessment information.)

Microcebus murinus
Microcebus murinus
Photo: Verena Behringer

Whereas several species of mouse lemur are widespread, the recognition of more and more diversity is indicating that some species are found only in restricted areas or localities, increasing the chances that local habitat alteration and degradation will seriously affect their survival (Yoder et al. 2000; Kappeler & Rasoloarison 2003). As a result, a reassessment of the threat levels of mouse lemurs is needed and the status of some species may be worse than assumed (Rasoazanabary 2004; Louis et al. 2006).

Estimates place the entire extant population of M. berthae at less than 8000 individuals while the status of M. lehilahytsara is not known (Schwab & Ganzhorn 2004; Roos & Kappeler 2006).


Threat: Human-Induced Habitat Loss and Degradation

Human activities have the potential to affect mouse lemurs adversely by degrading or destroying habitats, especially through slash-and-burn agriculture, logging, the production of charcoal, commercial maize farming, brush fires, the collection of firewood, and sapphire mining (Mittermeier et al. 2006). For example, at the Beza Mahafaly Special Reserve in southwest Madagascar, trees used by mouse lemurs are logged by locals, as well as exploited for honey collection. In addition, forest is degraded for livestock grazing, as well as through slash-and-burn agriculture (Rasoazanabary 2004). For example, slash-and-burn agriculture is also the main threat to the lemurs of Marojejy Strict Nature Reserve (including M. rufus) in northeast Madagascar (Duckworth et al. 1995). Although mouse lemurs are sometimes found in secondary forests, their body mass and population densities are lower in some such habitats, less food is available, fewer individuals enter torpor, and there are less appropriate sleeping sites. (Ganzhorn & Schmid 1998). Even though mouse lemurs are found in some secondary habitats, they are not optimal for the species (Ganzhorn & Schmid 1998). Forest degradation also has the potential to exacerbate competition and upset the ecological balance between sympatric species of mouse lemur. In fact, degradation could conceivably alter habitats in such a way that one species of mouse lemur could speed the elimination of another sympatric species of mouse lemur (Schwab & Ganzhorn 2004). Some species of mouse lemur (M. murinus) rely on tree-hole nests for torpor, hibernation, and for infant rearing; forest degradation has the potential to significantly alter the availability of optimal resting places for the species, and may affect their survival (Schmid 1998; Sylvia Atsalis pers. comm.).

Threat: Invasive Alien Species

Introduced predators, such as feral cats and dogs pose an added predation threat to M. ravelobensis (Mittermeier et al. 2006).

Threat: Harvesting (hunting/gathering)

M. murinus are sometimes captured as pets (Mittermeier et al. 2006).





Content last modified: February 11, 2009

Written by Kurt Gron. Reviewed by Sylvia Atsalis.

Cite this page as:
Gron KJ. 2009 February 11. Primate Factsheets: Mouse lemur (Microcebus) Conservation . <>. Accessed 2020 July 6.