Species: Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur (Microcebus berthae)
Status: Endangered (EN)
Interesting Fact: Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur is believed to be the world’s smallest living primate.
Named after Madagascan conservationist Madame Berthe Rakotosamimanana, Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur is endemic to Madagascar, and probably occurs in an area no more than 900 square kilometres. These lemurs are solitary foragers and hunt at night. Their large eyes have a shiny layer between the retinas that reflects lights back through the eye, dramatically improving night-vision. With their long tails, Madame Berthe’s mouse lemurs move easily through trees searching for insects, fruit and small reptiles such as geckos and chameleons to prey upon. Their favoured food source is the sugary secretion, or “honeydew”, produced by the larvae of the insect species, Flatida coccinea. In turn, the tiny Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur is preyed upon by owls, civets, mongooses, snakes and even other lemurs.
Like many Madagascan species, Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur is threatened by habitat loss due to illegal logging and slash-and-burn agriculture. With a highly restricted range and a global population estimated to be less than 8,000 mature individuals, this species faces an uncertain future. The establishment of protected areas in Madagascar, is vital to conserve the smallest of our primates.
Find out more about Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur on the BBC Nature website.
Lauren Pascoe, ARKive Researcher