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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Oct 10;97(21):11325-30.

Remarkable species diversity in Malagasy mouse lemurs (primates, Microcebus).

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Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.


Phylogenetic analysis of mtDNA sequence data confirms the observation that species diversity in the world's smallest living primate (genus Microcebus) has been greatly underestimated. The description of three species new to science, and the resurrection of two others from synonymy, has been justified on morphological grounds and is supported by evidence of reproductive isolation in sympatry. This taxonomic revision doubles the number of recognized mouse lemur species. The molecular data and phylogenetic analyses presented here verify the revision and add a historical framework for understanding mouse lemur species diversity. Phylogenetic analysis revises established hypotheses of ecogeographic constraint for the maintenance of species boundaries in these endemic Malagasy primates. Mouse lemur clades also show conspicuous patterns of regional endemism, thereby emphasizing the threat of local deforestation to Madagascar's unique biodiversity.

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