Gray Mouse Lemur Facts
- This distinctive creation of Nature and evolution most often goes by the descriptive common name of the Gray Mouse Lemur. Yet it also has a few other general titles, as well. These includes the very similar term of lesser mouse lemur, among others.
- Within the scientific community, however, it’s perhaps much better known by its technical appellation. Like most such, though, that’s somewhat hard for the layperson to pronounce. That’s because it holds the formal moniker Microcebus murinus.
- The animal received that name due to the efforts of John Frederick Miller. Though not a scientist, the British illustrator nevertheless achieved credited for the first recognition of it as a separate and distinct species. That noteworthy event occurred in 1777.
- The Gray Mouse Lemur inhabits a limited range, and its population numbers appear to be diminishing, albeit slowly. Despite that, the IUCN currently lists it as Least Concern on its Red List. That official status may change in the near future, though.
- The species face multiple threats to its continued existence in the wild. At present, its most immediate threat comes from habitat loss due to human activities. Yet it also now faces the same looming threat of ongoing climate change as all species do.
Gray Mouse Lemur Facts
Gray Mouse Lemur Physical Description
The magnificent Gray Mouse Lemur truly earns the level of appreciation it receives from those fortunate enough to encounter it. It does so, though, due to a unique combination of factors. Intriguingly, each of those features pertain to its physical characteristics.
Most lemurs display no noticeable amount of gender-based physical differences. This species, however, does so. Yet it also manages to do it due to a combination of two traits. This results in a truly intriguing display of the physiological trait of sexual dimorphism.
Incredibly, the female of the species develops a slightly larger head than that of her male counterpart. This part of their body tends to be both higher and wider than that of males. These additionally typically attain a marginally greater average weight than males.
Otherwise, both genders of the fascinating small primate attain the same general outward appearance. Amazingly, its head-and-body length only reaches a mean measurement equaling 4.7-5.5 in (12-14 cm). The tail adds another 5.1-5.7 in (13-14.5 cm) to this.
The mass of the Gray Mouse Lemur varies significantly by season. This pattern holds equally true for both sexes. Throughout the course of the year, though, an average weight totals approximately 2.1 oz (60 g). Exceptional specimens do occur, though, of both genders.
Given these remarkably tiny measurements, it qualifies as one of the smallest of all known primates in the world. Yet, it’s simultaneously the largest of all presently identified species of mouse lemur. As stated previously, it holds a unique status in the animal world.
In all other respects, though, males and females alike display the same general appearance. The fur on the upper back shows a brownish-gray shade, with some reddish hues. The sides show beige or light gray, and the rest of the body manifests a dull white color.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Primates
- Family: Cheirogaleidae
- Genus: Microcebus
- Species: M. murinus
Gray Mouse Lemur Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The astounding Gray Mouse Lemur evolved as native to a highly limited portion of the world. Yet that region suits it perfectly, as it’s also home to a number of other remarkable forms of life. That’s because it developed as endemic to the island of Madagascar.
Geographically situated near the continent of Africa, this site abounds with natural wonders. But, even on the island it only makes its home in certain sections. To date, the grand work of Nature is only known to inhabit the southern and western regions of the large isle.
Unlike like many species, this mammal displays an impressive versatility regarding its choice of habitat. In fact, it seems to be one of the most flexible in this regard of all lemurs. This represents one of the factors aiding in its survial, despite its relatively low numbers.
It primarily chooses to reside in various types of lowland forest. This includes such diverse ecosystems as gallery forests, scrub forests, secondary forests, and tropical one’s. Yet it also dwells in areas of somewhat dry habitat, degraded habitats, and even plantations.
Following the pattern of all its kindred, the Gray Mouse Lemur lives as both a nocturnal and arboreal creature. It’s typically highly active, and generally in overall nature. During the day, however, it often gathers in small groups for sleeping, often in holes in trees.
It feeds omnivorously, mainly consuming flowers, nectar, and fruit. Small numbers of insects augment this. Astonishingly, it’s also been seen to kill and eat its own kind in times of need! Its own predators include snakes, owls, and other, larger mammals.