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Mayotte brown lemurs

Mayotte brown lemurs
Bele, 8 Sep 2016
    • TeaLovingDave
      Spot the misinformation within the sign!
    • Swampy
      Is it that it refers to them as an 'introduced sub species' which, in the context they're trying to use it, makes no sense? :confused:
    • TeaLovingDave
      Sort of; they aren't a subspecies at all, and belong to E. fulvus only in the broadest sense.

      To be precise, Mayotte Brown Lemurs represent a hybrid swarm of multiple Eulemur taxa which were introduced to the eponymous island and interbred profusely; I do not believe anyone has done detailed work into *which* precise taxa were involved beyond the true Brown Lemur, but I suspect Collared, Red-fronted and Mongoose are all involved.
    • Chlidonias
      do you have a source for this?
    • TeaLovingDave
      The first edition of Lemurs of Madagascar by Mittermeier et al - released in 1994 - stated that Eulemur fulvus mayottensis was nothing more than a synonym of E. fulvus fulvus; this book was released prior to several species being split from E. fulvus, after which point the taxon became monotypic.

      However, these splits are taken into account by later editions of this book - the third of which, published in 2010, is substantially different from the original and contains work by about half a dozen authors absent from the first edition. In this edition - which I own - the Mayotte Brown Lemur is briefly discussed within the main account for E. fulvus, with Mittermeier noting that it comprises an introduced hybrid population, precise composition unknown, and as such is a curiosity worthy of further study but not a valid taxon for the purposes of the book.

      My copy of the book is in Northumberland right now, with Helly; I will be visiting her tomorrow, so I will be able to transcribe the exact text for you then :)
    • Chlidonias
      that would be good. I didn't actually notice that the sign says mayottensis, all tucked away up the top there - I thought they were merely saying it was introduced to the island. Nobody has considered that a real subspecies for years, so you'd think even a general collecting of info from the internet wouldn't have resulted in that.

      I was actually more interested in your "hybrid swarm" given that I haven't seen this anywhere else. Not saying that it isn't, given that all the original animals were introduced way back when, but the only reference I've ever seen which relates to this is that the small island of Bouzi (off Mayotte) has hybrid lemurs (specifically mentioned on the IUCN page, for example). Tourism websites usually say the island is for the "conservation of Mayotte's own endemic lemur" or words to that effect, suggesting it has been populated by animals from the main island - but I still find it curious that Bouzi would be singled out over Mayotte itself for remarks about hybrids, and indeed that I have never seen other comments on it.

      I have just now (while typing) tried to find some info on Bouzi Island but it is all rather general. I think the lemurs have just been released there from the main island though.
    • TeaLovingDave
      I've got Lemurs of Madagascar (Third Edition) open in front of me right now :) so here goes.....

      Within a general overview of Eulemur on pg. 377 of the book:

      Then, within the specific account relating to Eulemur fulvus, the following two excerpts - both located on pg. 400 of the book - are relevant to the precise nature of the introduced population:

      The reference given twice in the above extracts - Mittermeier et al., 2008c - is listed in the index more fully as the following:

      Lemur Diversity in Madagascar | SpringerLink

      The relevant information here is as follows:

    • Chlidonias
      thanks for that. Nowhere else seems to have really picked up on the hybrid angle of the Mayotte lemurs. Even the IUCN page for fulvus somewhat contradicts itself, as I noted earlier, saying on the one hand that the Mayotte lemurs are introduced fulvus and then later singling out the offshore island of Bouzi as being home to hundreds of hybrid lemurs.

      It doesn't seem that any genetic work has been done on this though, as the few references seem to relate only to the way the way the lemurs look - in fact it seems to stem solely from Mittermeier saying they are physically variable. So with the obvious lack of any evidence of where the original lemurs came from, and no genetic work, it is still only a theory based on their appearance. Not an unreasonable theory, but far from being an absolute.
    • TeaLovingDave
      Given that the paper quoted was released in 2008, and the book quoted was released in 2010, it is always possible that some genetic testing *has* taken place since then of course. I suppose time will tell.

      In any case, the Mayotte Lemur is living on borrowed time as far as captive collections go; if one makes a distinction between the Brown Lemurs found in other captive collections - many of which are certainly hybrids to some degree themselves dating back to the days when most of the species found within Eulemur were classified within fulvus as subspecies - and the "true" Mayotte Lemur population imported from the Comoros back when they were believed to be a distinct subspecies, I know only of five surviving Mayotte individuals in Europe:

      1) Two of the individuals within the exhibit signposted here - the other two being "generic" Brown Lemur to the best of my knowledge.
      2) An elderly pair in a private collection somewhere in Cornwall.
      3) A single geriatric at Tiergarten Nurnberg.
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