In the current issue of the International Journal of Primatology [abstract], Dr. Edward E. Louis, Jr, of Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo identifies three new species of mouse lemur. Mittermeier’s Mouse Lemur, Jolly’s Mouse Lemur and Simmons’s Mouse Lemur, are the three new species of discovered lemurs in the Eastern forest of Madagascar. Dr. Louis is head of the Genetics Department of the Center for Conservation and Research (CCR) at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo
Microcebus mittermieri (above) is named in honor of Dr. Russell A. Mittermeier, President of Conservation International, who has strongly support primate conservation in Madagascar and around the world.
Microcebus jollyae is named in honor of Dr. Alison Jolly, Professor at Princeton University. She has been a researcher and conservationist in Madagascar since 1966, working at Berenty Private Reserve.
Microcebus simmonsi is named in honor of Dr. Lee G. Simmons, Director of Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo, who has been a long-term, active supporter of conservation programs in Madagascar and throughout the world.
Mouse lemurs are the smallest primates in the world. The discovery of these tiny critters join other recentlty announced lemur discoveries including Avahi cleesei, the John Cleese/Monty Python lemur.
For more check out the National Geographic article, Three New Lemurs Discovered, Add to Madagascar’s Diversity.
A new species of woolly lemur first spotted in 1990 by researchers was officially announced this past November.
The animals are known locally as Dadintsifaka which means ‘grandparent of sifakas’ (Propithecus deckeni) because they are smaller and greyer than the white sifaka lemur. The species was given the scientific name Avahi cleesei after the famous comedian and actor John Cleese.
Read the fascinating story [pdf] of researcher Urs Thulmann to learn more about this discovery as well as other lemurs and creatures of Madagascar. It details what happened over the 15 years between his initial sighting and the report giving the critters their zoological name.
The actual number of distinct lemur species is something disputed amount scientists. So an international team of researchers set out to solve this taxonomic problem by studying the lemur genetics.
They confirmed the distinctiveness of 8 known lemur species: Lepilemur ankaranensis, L. dorsalis, L. edwardsi, L. leucopus, L. microdon, L. mustelinus, L. ruficaudatus and L. septentrionalis
However, their research has shown that there are possibly 3 extra species hidden among 8 previously classified species. More research needs to be done to confirm their work.
et la Conservation des Lémuriens (A.E.E.C.L.)
Named in honor of the researchers’ colleague, Georges Randrianasolo.
Named after the location where the critters live, the Sahamalaza
Peninsula of Madagascar.
The researchers’ complete 41 page report in PDF format can be found here.
DID YOU KNOW: the word “lemur” is derived from the Latin word lemures, which means “spirits of the night” and that lemurs are only naturally found on Madagascar, the large island off the eastern coast of Africa.