Meeting with the Microcebus

In the great south of Madagascar, in the middle of the spiny bush between fig trees and sisals fields and lost after few hours of dirt road drive, is a natural reserve where the smallest primate lives: The Microcebus. He is among the 15 types of lemurs living in the Island. Exclusiveley nocturnal, this species is very discreet in order to avoid tourists and predators. Experience his observation with a specialist, in deep Androy, the “Country of Spines”.

“Here, we can see its tail ! We call him maki catta, the predominent species in Berenty reserve !” Thierry is a guide in the private reserve of Berenty, a dry forest composed of Euphorbeas and Didiereaceas: perennial and spiny plants. It is midnight, the group of visitors is looking for the Microcebus, the smallest primate in the world. His size is like a big mouse, and his weight is no more than 90 grams.

Suddendly… “There! He’s climbing! He’s up at the back! You can see its shiny eyes, tells Thierry. Here, we have two species of Microcebus. The Microcebus murinus and the Microcebus Griseorufus. It is the adult size of this species. Therefore we have 30 species of Microcebus currently in Madagascar. Before it was 26 but primatologists discovered 4 more species recently.”

A discovery made in April 2016 by a group of Malagasy, American and German scientists. “The Microcebus lives only 9 years! When seeing its size, we wonder how he can survive so many years! They feed with insects. For the nocturnal species, they breed only once a year. But for diurnal species, they can have twins or even triplets”, tells Thierry.

Volantiana, agronomist in Antananarivo, can hardly believe it: “It has been a long time I wanted to see the Microcebus. Today, I finally got to see one. I am very happy about it!”

The Microcebus doesn’t hibernate during the winter but become less active. If you want to see it this year, hurry up!

Source : RFI 05-14-2017