New Lemur Species

New Species of Lemur Named for PSG Chairman

An extensive molecular revision of the genus Microcebus has uncovered three new species of mouse lemurs in eastern Madagascar, each with a restricted distribution. Of these, the smallest is Microcebus mittermeieri, named in honor of Dr. Russell Mittermeier, Chairman of the Primate Specialist Group and President of Conservation International. The smallest mouse lemur known from eastern Madagascar, Mittermeier's mouse lemur is only found in the Anjanaharibe-Sud Special Reserve in Antsiranana, in the country's far northeast by the Masoala Peninsula.

Writing in the online edition of IJP, E. E. Louis et al. (2006) describe M. mittermeieri based on both its unique pelage patterns and its molecular distinctiveness. The authors proposed the name "in honor of Dr. Russell A. Mittermeier...who has strongly supported primate conservation in Madagascar and around the world." The other two new species of mouse lemur, M. jollyae and M. simmonsi, were named for Dr. Alison Jolly — who has spent forty years studying the lemurs at Berenty Private Reserve — and Dr. Lee Simmons, director of Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo, where the authors carried out their molecular research.

More information about this research, including their mtDNA database, is available on the website for genetics research at the Bill and Berniece Grewcock Center for Conservation and Research at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo.

Reference

Louis Jr., E. E., Coles, M. S., Andriantompohavana, R., Sommer, J. A., Engberg, S. E., Zaonarivelo, J. R., Mayor, M. I. and Brenneman, R. A. 2006. Revision of the mouse lemurs (Microcebus) of eastern Madagascar. International Journal of Primatology. Published online,