Mouse Lemur Hybrids

Family Cheirogaleidae

Mammalian Hybrids

mouse-lemur

EUGENE M. MCCARTHY, PHD GENETICS

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Microcebus murinus Gray Mouse Lemur
Microcebus murinus
Image: Wikimedia

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Microcebus griseorufus [Gray-brown Mouse Lemur]
× Microcebus murinus (↔) [Gray Mouse Lemur] ENHR(cen Madagascar). Gligor et al. (2009) studied a hybrid zone in an ecotonal corridor that connects M. griseorufus in dry spiny forest and M. murinus in humid littoral forest. They sampled 162 mouse lemurs at nine sites across this boundary. Morphometric analyses revealed intermediate morphotypes of many individuals in transitional habitat. Bayesian clustering of microsatellite genotypes and assignment tests indicated a mixed ancestry of mouse lemurs in the ecotone. They also observed significant linkage disequilibria and heterozygote deficiency. In contrast to these observations, mitochondrial haplotypes displayed a sharply delimited boundary at the eastern edge of the spiny forest, which did not coincide with the boundary for microsatellite data. In the same zone, Hapke et al. (2011) subsequently sampled 159 individuals and found 18 hybrids among them. Mitochondrial haplotypes of both parents were present in the hybrids, which suggests this cross is reversible.

Microcebus murinus [Gray Mouse Lemur]
See also: Microcebus griseorufus.
× Microcebus myoxinus [Pygmy Mouse Lemur] NHR(w Madagascar). Rumpler et al. say there are reports of hybrids. Schmid and Kappeler (1994, p. 165) report that among 89 mouse lemurs taken at Forêt de Kirindy (20˚4´S, 44˚39´E) “five individuals could not be classified unequivocally [as either murinus or myoxinus] on the basis of their body size and colouration alone.” The same authors say (p. 168) specimens which they term “western rufous mouse lemurs” closely match Peter’s (1852) description of Microcebus myoxinus and go on to express (p. 169) their “working hypotheses that the rufous mouse lemurs from Kirindy forest correspond to those described by Peters, that M. myoxinus is a good species, and that it is more closely related to M. rufus than to M. murinus.” However, according to Hill (1953, Fig. 96, p. 333), M. rufus and M. murinus are in parapatric contact in northwestern Madagascar in the region where one of Peter’s M. myoxinus specimens was collected (Baie de Bombatoka near Mahajanga), which suggests the possibility that it might be a hybrid between rufus and murinus (rufus = Hill’s smithii). The myoxinus specimens are smaller than either of these putative parents, but in some types of crosses the hybrids are smaller than either parent (e.g., tiger × lioness or puma × leopard). A second taxon in this genus, M. ravelobensis, was recently described (Zimmermann et al. 1998) from specimens that also come from this region of contact, Betsiboka River Valley (16˚35´S,46˚82´E). A hybrid origin should always be considered in the case of newly recognized types from known contact regions. Rumpler et al. 1998 (p. 307); Schmid and Kappeler 1994.
× Microcebus rufus [Brown Mouse Lemur] See: Microcebus murinus × M. myoxinus. Parapatric contact zones in northwestern Madagascar (Betsiboka River), as well as in southeastern part of the island (near Andrahomana). Contact, perhaps, occurred inland before the deforestation of the center of the island. Hill 1953 (Fig. 96, p. 333).

Microcebus myoxinus [Pygmy Mouse Lemur] See: Microcebus murinus.

Microcebus ravelobensis [Golden Mouse Lemur] See: Microcebus murinus × M. myoxinus.

Microcebus rufus [Brown Mouse Lemur] See: Microcebus murinus; M. murinus × M. myoxinus.

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By the same author: Handbook of Avian Hybrids of the World, Oxford University Press (2006).


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