Physical characteristics

These are the smallest lemurs, ranging in size from 1 oz (30 g) for the pygmy mouse lemur (Microcebus berthae) to 16.5 oz (460 g) for the fork-crowned lemur (Phaner furcifer). All species are nocturnal, with correspondingly large eyes, and essentially arboreal, with relatively long tails. The tarsal bones in the heel region of the foot are mildly elongated. The fur is dense and woolly in all species. As a general rule, species inhabiting the eastern rainforest tend to be rufous (reddish brown) in dorsal coloration, while those living in the dryer forests in the west are grayer. In all species, the ventral fur is considerably lighter and varies from white through cream to yellowish brown. The external ears (pinnae) are relatively large and, in some species, very conspicuous.

The red mouse lemur (Microcebus rufus) is nocturnal. (Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/Cobris. Reproduced by permission.)

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