Mirza zaza


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Mirza zaza
Species Authority: Kappeler & Roos, 2005
Common Name/s:
English Northern Giant Mouse Lemur
Taxonomic Notes: Analyses of morphometric, genetic, and behavioral data (Kappeler et al. 2005) resulted in the recognition of Mirza zaza as distinct from M. coquereli. Mirza coquereli is the larger of the two, with a distribution nucleus in southwestern Madagascar. Mirza zaza is found in the northern western dry forest domain and the Sambirano region and (Kappeler et al. 2005).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B2ab(ii,iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2011-03-11
Assessor/s: Rode, E.J., Nekaris, K.A.I. , Schwitzer, C. & Hoffmann, M.
Reviewer/s: Mittermeier, R.A. & Rylands, A.B.

Previously listed as Data Deficient, as the precise limits of the distribution of this species were not well known, and it was unclear to what degree it is being impacted by ongoing habitat loss. The status of Mirza zaza was changed to Vulnerable on the basis of a simple assessment of the area of occupancy (Rode et al. 2010), which is less than 2,000 km². With several sites within the species’ distribution area found to be unoccupied, the remaining habitat being extremely fragmented with the smallest fragments unsuitable to support a viable population, and habitat vanishing quickly, M. zaza may become Endangered (EN B2ab) in the near future if its area of occupancy shrinks below 500 km².

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Specimens of M. zaza come from the region of the Ampasindava Peninsula in north-western Madagascar, specifically from Ambato and Pasandava (Kappeler et al. 2005). Surveys and the genetic analysis of further specimens confirmed their presence at Ankiabe and Andranobe near Befotaka, in the Sahamalaza region at Ambendrana and Ankarafa forest and on Nosy Be (C. Schwitzer pers. comm., Markolf et al. 2008, Ramaromilanto 2009). The area of occurrence of the species is suggested to be limited by the Maeverano River in the south and the Mahavavy River in the north (Markolf et al. 2008). Surveys in the province Mahajanga failed to confirm the presence of Mirza (Randrianambinina et al. 2003, Olivieri et al. 2005). Markolf et al. (2008) could confirm with genetics that individuals from Tsingy de Namoroka National Park are Mirza coquereli.
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Andrianarivo (1981) and Kappeler et al. (2005) both recorded high population densities for M. zaza. Their estimates of 385 individuals/km² and 1,086 individuals/km² are several times higher than those obtained for M. coquereli in the Kirindy Forest. The concentration of animals in more isolated forest fragments and the presence of mango, cashew, and other introduced food tree species in the Ambato region may help explain the higher densities, but further research is needed (Mittermeier et al. 2008). Using data on group home range size and group size, Rode et al. (2010) indicated a range of population size from the maximum (occupancy of 80% of total area covered in dry forest approximately 1,650 km²) of 177,500 to a minimum (only fragments ≥1 km² and smaller fragments closer than 500 m to other, larger fragments, that covers 955 km²) of 16,500.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: An inhabitant of dry forests and the transition area to the more humid Sambirano area; also recorded from secondary forest. In contrast to the solitary Mirza coquereli, the gregarious M. zaza sleeps in groups of 2 to 8 animals including several males with fully developed testes (Kappeler et al. 2005, Rode 2010). Only 1–3 nests were used in a 50-day observation period, which indicates a high preference for and/or a scarcity of nest sites (Rode 2010). Tall trees with many lianas were preferred as nest sites, but microhabitat used during nightly activity consisted of tall trees and showed high forest density compared to random microhabitat (Rode 2010). Individual home ranges were estimated to range from 0.5 to 2.2 ha, while group home ranges were between 1 ha and 2.4 (MCP method) (Rode 2010). M. zaza is suggested to be the primate with the largest relative testis size (Rode 2010) and seems to be highly promiscuous (Kappeler et al. 2005, Rode 2010). Reproduction evidently takes place throughout the year as opposed to a strict mating season in M. coquereli (Stanger et al. 1995, Rode 2010). Feeding on the sugary secretions of the larvae of homopteran Flatidae in the dry season may enable the species to reproduce aseasonally (Rode 2010).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The major threats to this species are unclear. It is presumably at risk from forest clearance and slash-and-burn agricultural activities. The dry forests where it lives are one of the fastest declining habitats of the island, with a decrease in forest cover of 40% from 1975 to 2000 (Moat and Smith 2007). They are able to persist in forest fragments, especially where there are introduced tree species to provide a food source.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Listed on CITES Appendix I. Until now the presence of the species in protected areas is only confirmed in Sahamalaza National Park and Lokobe Strict Reserve (Markolf et al. 2008, Ramaromilanto 2009). Detailed surveys throughout the proposed area of accupancy are clearly indicated to determine the distribution and abundance of this species.

Bibliography [top]

Andrianarivo, A. J. 1981. Etude compare de l’organisaton sociale chez Microcebus coquereli. Unpublished Thesis, University of Madagascar.

IUCN. 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2011.1). Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 16 June 2011).

Kappeler, P. M., Raoloaraison, R. M., Razafimanantsoa, L., Walter, L. and Roos, C. 2005. Morphology, behaviour and molecular evolution of giant mouse lemurs (Mirza spp.) Gray, 1870, with description of a new species. Primate Report 71: 3–26.

Markolf, M., Kappeler, P.M. and Rasoloarison, R. 2008. Distribution and conservation status of Mirza zaza. Lemur News 13: 37-40.

Mittermeier, R., Louis, E., Hawkins, F., Langrand, O., Ganzhorn, J., Konstant, W., Rasoloarison, R., Rajaobelina, S. and Richardson, M. 2008. Lemurs of Madagascar, 3rd edition. Conservation International.

Moat, J. and Smith, P. 2007. Atlas of the Vegetation of Madagascar. Royal Botanic Gardens. Kew Publishing, Kew, UK.

Olivieri, G., Craul, M. and Radespiel, U. 2005. Inventaires des lémuriens dans 15 fragments de forêt de la province de Mahajanga. Lemur News 10: 11-16.

Ramaromilanto, B., Lei, R., Engberg, S.E., Johnson, S.E., Sitzmann, B.D. and Louis Jr., E.E. 2009. Sportive lemur diversity at Mananara-Nord Biosphere Reserve, Madagascar. Occasional Papers, Museum of Texas Tech University 286: 1-22.

Randrianambinina, B., Rasoloharijaona, S., Rakotosamimanana, B. and Zimmermann, E. 2003. Inventaire des communautés lémuriennes dans la Réserve Spéciale de Bora au nord-ouest et la Forêt dominiale de Mahilaka-Maromandia au nord de Madagascar. Lemur News 8: 15-18.

Randriatahina, G. H. and Rabarivola, J. C. 2004. Inventaire des lémuriens dans la partie nord-ouest de Madagascar et distribution d'Eulemur macaco flavifrons. Lemur News 9: 7–9.

Rode, E.J. 2010. Conservation ecology, morphology and reproduction of the nocturnal northern giant mouse lemur Mirza zaza in Sahamalaza National Park, northwestern Madagascar. Oxford Brookes University, UK..

Rode, E.J., Nekaris, K.A.I. and Schwitzer, C. 2010. Preliminary conservation status assessment for the Data Deficient northern giant mouse lemur Mirza zaza. Lemur News 15: 12-14.

Roos, C. and Kappeler, P. 2006. Distribution and Conservation Status of Two Newly Described Cheirogaleid Species, Mirza zaza and Microcebus lehilahytsara. Primate Conservation 21: 51-53.

Stanger, K.F., Coffman, B.S. and Izard, M.K. 1995. Reproduction in Coquerel's dwarf lemur (Mirza coquereli). American Journal of Primatology 36: 223-237.

Citation: Rode, E.J., Nekaris, K.A.I. , Schwitzer, C. & Hoffmann, M. 2011. Mirza zaza. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 20 April 2014.
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