Microcebus murinusgray mouse lemur

Geographic Range

Microcebus murinus is found throughout Madagascar in dense forest regions.


Gray mouse lemurs are extremely arboreal.They move by leaping from the branches of trees. They generally forage close to ground level. They inhabit a wide variety of forest types throughout Madagascar, and are found mostly in the dry deciduous forests of southern and western Madagascar in the regions between Fort-Dulphin and the Sambirano River.

Physical Description

Gray mouse lemurs are one of the smallest living primates. They are characterized by short limbs and large eyes. The head and body length is 12 to 14 cm and tail length of 13 to 14.5 cm. They have long, thin lower incisors and canines, making a dental comb used for grooming. They have a brownish-grey coat with reddish tones and a pale underside.

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • sexes alike
  • Average mass
    60 g
    2.11 oz
  • Average mass
    64.8 g
    2.28 oz
  • Range length
    12 to 12 cm
    4.72 to 4.72 in


This species is polygynous; males mate with females in their home ranges.

Microcebus murinus reproduce between September and March. The gestation period varys from 54-69 days. They usually give birth to twins.

  • Breeding season
    Microcebus murinus reproduce between September and March.
  • Average number of offspring
  • Average number of offspring
  • Range gestation period
    54 to 69 days
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    Sex: female
    243 days
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
    Sex: male
    243 days

Labor takes about 45 to 60 minutes and the infants begin to suckle after about 12 minutes. The infants weigh from 5.5-7g and are carried in the mother's mouth.

  • Parental Investment
  • pre-fertilization
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-hatching/birth
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-weaning/fledging
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-independence
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female



Microcebus murinus are nocturnal foragers. They congregate at a common nest site during the day to sleep. The males sleep in pairs separate from the females. The females sleep in groups of up to fifteen. Females are dominant over males.

Communication and Perception

Food Habits

Microcebus murinus are mostly insectivorous. They occasionally eat small reptiles such as chameleons and tree frogs. They also feed on plants, leaves, fruits and flowers.

  • Animal Foods
  • amphibians
  • reptiles
  • insects
  • Plant Foods
  • leaves
  • fruit
  • flowers

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Even though it is illegal to hunt and trade lemurs, mouse lemurs are often trapped and sold as pets.

Conservation Status

Microcebus murinus is one of the least threatened of all lemur species. Their abundance is most likely due their small size and variable diet. All lemurs are protected by laws that make them illegal to hunt or capture, except for research and breeding in zoos. Loss of habitat is the largest current threat to lemur populations. In particular, deforestation poses the greatest risk to this species. Over 250 mouse lemurs can be found in captivity worldwide.


David Alvarado (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Phil Myers (editor), Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.



living in sub-Saharan Africa (south of 30 degrees north) and Madagascar.

World Map


Referring to an animal that lives in trees; tree-climbing.

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


an animal that mainly eats meat


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate

dominance hierarchies

ranking system or pecking order among members of a long-term social group, where dominance status affects access to resources or mates


animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.


forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.


having a body temperature that fluctuates with that of the immediate environment; having no mechanism or a poorly developed mechanism for regulating internal body temperature.


An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.


offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).


having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


active during the night


having more than one female as a mate at one time

scrub forest

scrub forests develop in areas that experience dry seasons.

seasonal breeding

breeding is confined to a particular season


remains in the same area


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female


associates with others of its species; forms social groups.


uses touch to communicate


Living on the ground.


the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.


reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.


Accessed (Date Unknown) at http://mommensj.web2010.com/.

July 25, 1999. "Grey Mouse Lemur" (On-line). Accessed October 12, 1999 at http://www.duke.edu/web/primate/mouse.html.

Kappeler, P., J. Ganzhorn. 1993. Lemur social systems and their ecological basis. New York: Plenum Press.

Wild Life preservation Trust International, 1998. "The Wild Ones" (On-line). Accessed (Date Unknown) at http://www.thewildones.org/Animals/lemur.html.