Species: Allocebus trichotis
Common Name: Hairy-eared Dwarf Lemur
Administrative Note: Before discussing this week’s primate I would like to mention that the hairy-eared dwarf lemur is the 30th primate covered in this series. Eight of the thirty have been fossils and the remaining twenty-two have been, more or less, equally spread out amongst the living primate families (except the apes in which only one living and one fossil species have been covered). To give the reader some sense of where we have been and where we are going I will be doing a post on the taxonomy of primates after I finish my series on primate locomotion.
The hairy-eared dwarf lemur is an extremely rare and unusual species. Once upon a time it was only known from a few skeletons in a museum. Then in 1989 it was rediscovered in northeastern Madagascar. At this point, it is barely hanging on and there is some evidence that it may have a wider range than previously thought. It lives in dense primary rainforests, often sympatrically with the Brown mouse lemur. They are nocturnal and prefer dead tree trunks for nests. Because they are so rare I was not able to find a picture of one – this drawing will have to serve:
Hairy-eared dwarf lemurs have several interesting osteological traits. First, unlike most cheirogaleids, the hairy-eared dwarf lemur has a tympanic ring (I have not been able to find a good picture that explains this so, at some point I will have to do a special post and scan one) that is fused to the auditory bulla. Second, their dentition is similar to that of the fork=marked lemur with an additional wrinkle. The upper 2nd and 3rd molars are caniniform. Third, they have keeled nails, which, along with the teeth, suggests that the hairy-eared dwarf lemur specializes on gums.