Distribution Of Mouse Lemur Species

There are currently seven described mouse lemur species inhabiting western Madagascar. Their distribution pattern falls into two categories: species with a broad distribution range such as the grey mouse lemur (M. murinus) and species with a regional or even locally restricted distribution range (M. griseorufus, M. berthae, M. myoxinus, M. ravelobensis, M. sambiranensis, M. tavaratra) (Figure. 1a,b). The distribution range of M. murinus extends from the southern region of Tolagnaro (Martin, 1972; Hapke, 2005) over the west coast (Tattersall, 1982; Mittermeier et al., 1994; Rasoloarison et al., 2000), up to at least the river Sofia in northwestern Madagascar (Olivieri et al., 2005; Olivieri and Radespiel, unpublished results). Previous reports of sightings farther to the north in the Ankarana Reserve (Nicoll and Langrand, 1989; Mittermeier et al., 1994) have so far not been confirmed with molecular data. M. murinus occurs sympatrically with other mouse lemur species in southern (M. griseorufus), southwestern (M. berthae), western (M. myoxinus), and northwestern Madagascar (M. ravelobensis) (Figure 1a,b). Of these, the distribution ranges of M. griseorufus and M. myoxinus seem to be the largest and extend from Tolagnaro to north of Toliara (M. griseorufus, Rasoloarison et al., 2000; Yoder et al., 2002; Hapke, 2005) and from the Tsiribihina river up to the Betsiboka river (M. myoxinus, Rasoloarison et al., 2000; Olivieri and Radespiel, unpublished data), respectively. The four other known western mouse lemur species seem to have much smaller ranges that may cover only the area between two adjacent large rivers (Inter-River-Systems, IRS, Figure 1b), respectively. This could be the Morondava and the Tsiribihina river for M. berthae (Rasoloarison et al., 2000; Schwab and Ganzhorn, 2004), the Betsiboka and the Mahajamba river for M. ravelobensis (Zimmermann et al., 1998; Radespiel and Raveloson, 2001; Olivieri et al., 2005), the Maevarano and the Sambirano river for M. sambiranensis (Rasoloarison et al., 2000; Randrianambinina et al., 2003a), and the Mahavavy river as possible southern border of M. tavaratra (Rasoloarison et al., 2000; Rasoloharijaona et al., 2005). The taxonomic classification of mouse lemurs inhabiting other

Figure 1. Distribution map of the currently known mouse lemur species. (a) Microcebus murinus and the M. rufus group: (b) all locally and regionally distributed species.

Figure 1. Distribution map of the currently known mouse lemur species. (a) Microcebus murinus and the M. rufus group: (b) all locally and regionally distributed species.

western IRSs is still under study (Olivieri and Radespiel, unpublished data; Louis, personal communication).

The taxonomy of mouse lemurs from the eastern rainforests of Madagascar is currently under revision (Kappeler, personal communication; Louis, personal communication). Historically, it has been assumed that only one species, M. rufus, inhabits all eastern rainforest habitats (Figure 1a; Petter et al., 1977; Tattersall, 1982; Mittermeier et al., 1994). However, there are now indications for deeper phylogenetic splits within this taxon (Yoder et al., 2000; Kappeler et al., 2005; Louis et al., 2006). One new species (M. lehilahytsara) has already been described from the region of Andasibe (Kappeler et al., 2005) and more species can be expected to become known within the next few years (e.g., Raharivololona et al., 2003; Louis, 2004). Due to the current lack of detailed ecological and distribution data, however, I will consider these eastern rufous forms the "M. rufus group" throughout this chapter and add the locality names whenever suitable.

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