Animal Info - Hairy-eared Dwarf Lemur

(Other Names: Allocèbe, Chirogale aux Oreilles Poilues, Hairy-eared Mouse Lemur, Lemur Orejipeludo, Mouse Lemur, Tsidiala (Tsidy ala))

Allocebus trichotis (Cheirogaleus t.)

Status: Endangered


1. Profile (Picture)
2. Tidbits
3. Status and Trends (IUCN Status, Countries Where Currently Found, Population Estimates, History of Distribution, Threats and Reasons for Decline)
4. Data on Biology and Ecology (Weight, Habitat, Birth Season, Diet, Behavior, Social Organization)
5. References


Picture: Hairy-eared Dwarf Lemur #2 (32 Kb JPEG)

The hairy-eared dwarf lemur is one of the smallest primates, with a weight of only 80 - 100 g (3 -3.6 oz) and a length of 30 cm (1'). It has been found only in lowland rainforest. Its diet is not known, but this nocturnal lemur may eat nectar or plant gums.

Local inhabitants report that it hibernates from May to September. It sleeps in holes in large trees. The hairy-eared dwarf lemur is reported to be found in pairs, with as many as 6 sometimes being observed together.

Since 1875, it has only been recorded by biologists in 1966 and 1989 and is only known for certain from eastern Madagascar near Mananara. It is eaten by local people and its habitat is being deforested.


*** The hairy-eared dwarf lemur is one of the world's rarest mammals.

Status and Trends

IUCN Status:

Countries Where the Hairy-eared Dwarf Lemur Is Currently Found:

2004: Occurs in Madagascar (IUCN 2004).

Population Estimates:

[Note: Figures given are for wild populations only.]

  • WORLD (Madagascar)
    • 1994: No population figures are available, but a reasonable order of magnitude estimate would be 100 - 1000 (Mittermeier et al. 1994)
    • 2004: Estimated to number between 100 and 1000 (IUCN 2004) 

History of Distribution:

Up until 1966, the hairy-eared dwarf lemur was assumed to be extinct, since no specimen had been seen since 1875. In 1966 it was rediscovered on the east coast of Madagascar near Mananara. Two live animals were found in the same vicinity, south of the Mananara River, in 1989. As of 1997 it was still known only from eastern Madagascar near Mananara.  Its status has changed from Critically Endangered to Endangered since 1996 because of the discovery of new subpopulations, giving the impression that it is more common than originally believed (IUCN 2004) .

Threats and Reasons for Decline:

The hairy-eared dwarf lemur is caught in traps in the forest and eaten by inhabitants of the area where it is found. This plus deforestation of its habitat for agriculture and logging are the major reasons for its decline.

Data on Biology and Ecology


The hairy-eared dwarf lemur weighs 80 - 100 g (3 -3.6 oz).


The hairy-eared dwarf lemur has been found only in lowland primary rain forest.

The hairy-eared dwarf lemur lives in the Madagascar & Indian Ocean Islands Biodiversity Hotspot (Cons. Intl. 2005).

Birth Season:

Little is known about reproduction. Juveniles half the size of adults have been found in tree holes in March. This would support the interpretation that estrus occurs at the beginning of the wet season in November - December with births in January - February, assuming that the gestation period is approximately 2 months as in related species in the genera Microcebus and Cheirogaleus. (Meier & Albignac 1991)


It is not known what food the hairy-eared dwarf lemur eats. However, because of its sharp claws and tooth structure, there is speculation that it may be specialized for feeding on plant gums. It also may be adapted to eating nectar with its long tongue.


The hairy-eared dwarf lemur is nocturnal. It is reported to become torpid or hibernate in trees or underground from May to September. This lemur sleeps in holes in large trees.

Social Organization:

The hairy-eared dwarf lemur is reported to be found in pairs, with as many as 6 sometimes being observed together.


Burton & Pearson 1987, Cons. Intl. 2005, Curry-Lindahl 1972, IUCN 1969, IUCN 1994, IUCN 1996, IUCN 2000, IUCN 2003a, IUCN 2004, Lemurs of Madagascar, Macdonald 1984, Meier & Albignac 1991, Mittermeier et al. 1994, Oryx 1997e, Wilson et al. 1988

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Last modified: November 7, 2005;

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