Photograph courtesy Harald Schuetz, WWF Madagascar
Researchers discovered the mouse lemur Microcebus berthae in 2000 within the dry forests of Kirindy Mitea National Park on Madagascar’s western coast.
At 3.6 inches (9.2 centimeters) in length and 1 ounce (30 grams) in weight, M. berthae is the tiniest of 15 known mouse lemur species. It’s also the smallest primate in the world, according to WWF Madagascar’s Ratsifandrihamanana.
This mouse lemur’s behavior isn’t well known, but some species of plants rely entirely on lemurs for their survival.
“One lemur species eats the seeds of a tree, digests the outer coating, and poops it out. The tree doesn’t grow unless processed like this by the lemur,” Ratsifandrihamanana said.
“Each species in a habitat plays a specific role in keeping the balance of that natural system. Losing one leads to disruptions.”