Daily Torpor in Free-Ranging Gray Mouse Lemurs (Microcebus murinus) in Madagascar
Author: Schmid J.
Source: International Journal of Primatology, Volume 22, Number 6, December 2001 , pp. 1021-1031(11)
I aimed to determine when and under which seasonal environmental conditions gray mouse lemurs (Microcebus murinus), a small nocturnal primate species endemic to Madagascar, utilize daily torpor. Using temperature-sensitive radio collars, I measured skin temperature (T_sk) of free-ranging mouse lemurs under natural conditions. My results showed that male and female mouse lemurs in the wild enter torpor spontaneously over a wide range of ambient temperatures (T_a) during the dry season, but not during the rainy season. Mouse lemurs that remained normothermic had significantly lower body masses (mean: 59.7 g) than individuals that used torpor (mean: 80.2 g). Skin temperatures dropped to 20.9°C and the mean torpor bout duration is 10.3 h. The use of torpor on a given night varied among individuals, whereas the propensity for torpor did not differ significantly between males and females. I found no evidence that T_a can be used to predict whether mouse lemurs will remain normothermic or enter torpor. It appears that the most reliable indicator for the occurrence of torpor in free-ranging Microcebus murinus is time of the year, i.e., photoperiod.
Document Type: Regular paper
Publication date: 2001-12-01