The Gray Mouse Lemur has something in common with us – and it is something bad.
Researchers trekking through the forests of western Madagascar found something disturbing. While looking for a radio-tagged female of the species (Microcebus murinus) they found a male dining on her flesh (photo above). Yuck.
The cause of the female’s death remains a mystery since all of her vital organs were missing. The Gray Mouse Lemur was not previously known to eat other mammals, much less practice cannibalism.
Although we knew cannibalism existed, all known victims of such activities included either infants or juveniles. A variety of primates, including chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans, several monkeys, and perhaps even gorillas (and humans), practice the act. Shocked much?
Gray Mouse Lemur Description and Habitat
The findings of the report appeared in an issue of the American Journal of Primatology. They suggest that nonhuman primate cannibalism extends further than just to infants and juveniles.
At the very least, the menu of the Gray Mouse Lemur – one of the world’s smallest primate species – is much larger than previously assumed. The Gray Mouse Lemur, or lesser mouse lemur, represents a small lemur, a type of strepsirrhine primate. They occur only on the island of Madagascar.
Weighing 58 to 67 grams (2.0 to 2.4 oz), it ranks as the largest of the mouse lemurs (genus Microcebus), a group that includes the smallest primates in the world.
Gray Mouse Lemur Mysteriousness
The species derived its name from its mouse-like size and coloration and remains known locally (in Malagasy) as tsidy, koitsiky, titilivaha, pondiky, and vakiandry.
Biologists consider the Gray Mouse Lemur and all other mouse lemurs a cryptic type of animal. This occurs because they remain nearly indistinguishable from each other by appearance.
For this reason, the Gray Mouse Lemur was considered the only mouse lemur species for decades until more recent studies began to distinguish between the species.