The Republic of Madagascar is an island country off the coast of Southeast Africa and is filled with wildlife that cannot be found anywhere else on Earth. Famous for their world's smallest primates, the pygmy mouse lemur named Madame Berthe. It is approximately 3.6 inches and weighs 1.1 ounces. The cute big-eyed furry little primates feed on plants, flowers, nectar, insects and fruits.
The Latin word "lemures" means "ghost" because Malagasy people believe that just like spirits, the mouse lemur are only active in the night and they have a very creepy outer physique. These nocturnal mouse lemurs dwells only in the forest and inhabit in female-dominated groups with up to 15 animals. They are usually high up in trees and move by hopping from branch to branch. Like bats, mouse lemurs sleep during the day and search for food in the night. The male mouse lemurs breed by establishing breeding hierarchies for mating season.
Recently, three more new species had been found in the midst of the forest of Madagascar. The new species who physically resembled like one another are M. manitatra, M. ganzhorn and M. boraha and are closely relater to Madame Berthe's mouse lemur. Due to new genetic technology, scientists have discovered other members to the mouse lemur heritage. Researchers are astonished to discover that these primates have developed into different species with different genes.
“By using new, objective methods to assess genetic differences between individuals, we were able to find independent evidence that these three mouse lemurs represent new species,” said Peter Kappeler head scientist at the German Primate Center. “This new information is an important element towards better understanding how biodiversity on Madagascar arose.”
The IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, have placed these primates on the Red List and are the world's most endangered group of mammals. These unique primates are on the verge of extinction due to human hunting activities and massive deforestation. The known and unknown species are in dire need of our protection and it is our duty to maintain and keep all wildlife's habitats in tact for their survival.