Western fattailed dwarf lemur

Cheirogaleus medius

SUBFAMILY

Cheirogaleinae

TAXONOMY

Cheirogaleus medius É. Geoffroy, 1812, Fort Dauphin, Madagascar.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Petit cheirogale; German: Fettschwanz-Katzenmaki. PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Fur soft and dense; dorsal fur pale silvery gray (sometimes tinged with pale brown); ventral fur creamy white or yellowish white. Eyes surrounded by dark rings and separated by a pale nose stripe. Ears medium-sized and naked, but partially hidden by surrounding fur. Length 7.6 in (19 cm), tail 7.6 in (19 cm); 7 oz (188 g) for males, 6 oz (172 g) for females.

DISTRIBUTION

Occurs throughout the western region of Madagascar, in most forested areas of the south, west, and northwest.

HABITAT

Deciduous and semiarid forests.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Microcebe gris; German: Grauer Mausmaki. PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Dorsal fur gray or gray-brown; ventral fur white or yellowish white. Dark midline stripe down the back. Pale nose stripe between the eyes, extending almost to the tip of the snout. Ears large, rounded, membranous, and mobile. Length 5.0 in (12.5 cm), tail 5.4 in (13.5 cm); 2 oz (60 g) for both sexes when most active.

DISTRIBUTION

Occurs throughout forested areas of west and south Madagascar. HABITAT

Deciduous and semiarid forests, including scrub vegetation.

BEHAVIOR

Individuals (particularly females) can exhibit intermittent, facultative torpor during the dry season, relying on fat stores accumulated in the tail during the wet season. Commonly described as "solitary," but nevertheless have well-developed social networks with overlapping ranges and shared nests. Daytime sleeping groups containing up to l5 individuals have been reported.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Rely mainly on fruits and insects, although they also eat other animal prey (e.g., small frogs and chameleons) and plant exu-dates.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Polygynous. Strictly seasonal breeding, with births and rearing of offspring during the wet season (October-March), possibly with two successive litters. Ovarian cycle length approximately 50 days. Gestation period about 60 days. Usually two offspring, but occasionally one or three.

CONSERVATION STATUS Not threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Sometimes eaten by humans, but otherwise of little significance. ♦

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