The mouse lemurs are nocturnal lemurs of the genus Microcebus. Like all lemurs, mouse lemurs are native to Madagascar.
Mouse lemurs have a combined head, body and tail length of less than 27 centimetres (11 in), making them the smallest primates (the smallest species being Madame Berthe's mouse lemur); however, their weight fluctuates in response to daylight duration. Lemurs and mouse lemurs were announced by the IUCN as the most endangered of all vertebrates. There were two known mouse lemur species in 1992; by 2016, there were 24. It was estimated that the 24 mouse lemur species evolved from a common ancestor 10 million years ago. Evolution of mouse lemurs is an example for adaptive radiation.
Mouse lemurs are omnivorous; their diets are diverse and include insect secretions, arthropods, small vertebrates, gum, fruit, flowers, nectar, and also leaves and buds depending on the season.
Mouse lemurs are considered cryptic species—with very little morphological differences between the various species, but with high genetic diversity. Recent evidence points to differences in their mating calls, which is very diverse. Since mouse lemurs are nocturnal, they might not have evolved to look differently, but had evolved various auditory and vocal systems.
Mouse lemurs have the smallest known brain of any primate, at just 0.004 pound (2 grams).
As written in Genetics, mouse lemurs help to provide a more extensive understanding of the biology, behavior, and health of primates. Mouse lemurs are categorized as prosimian primates. They are among the smallest and most rapidly developing primates and are becoming more abundant in Madagascar and around the world. These tiny creatures are helping to prove valuable information about the biology and evolution of primates through the analysis of their phenotypes and mutations, especially as a model organism for human medical research.