Thursday, 1 August 2013

New species of critically endangered Dwarf lemur recognised on Madagascar

First discovered in 2001, but only now recognised as a distinct species, the Lavasoa Dwarf Lemur population probably consists of fewer than 50 animals

July 2013. The island of Madagascar harbours a unique biodiversity that evolved due to its long-lasting isolation from other land masses, and there are high numbers of endemic plant and animal species.

Lemurs
Lemurs are found almost exclusively on Madagascar, the only exceptions are two species that also live on the Comoros Islands, where they probably have been introduced by humans. Thanks to extensive field research over the past decades, numerous previously unknown lemur species have been discovered. Dwarf lemurs in turn received relatively little attention to date and the diversity within this genus is still not well known.

Researchers from the universities of Mainz and Antananarivo have investigated lemur populations in southern Madagascar. Based on fieldwork and laboratory analyses, they now identified a previously unknown species of dwarf lemur.

"Together with Malagasy scientists, we have been studying the diversity of lemurs for several years now," said Dr. Andreas Hapke of the Institute of Anthropology at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). "It is only now that we were able to determine that some of the animals examined represent a previously unknown species."

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