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Northern Giant Mouse Lemur

Mirza zaza


This unassuming nocturnal lemur has the largest testes to body ratio of all mammals.

This trait is strongly linked to the mating behaviours of species throughout the animal kingdom, with large testes indicating highly promiscuous reproductive behaviour. Not only that, but this sociable species form communal nests which have been found to include multiple adult males; an uncommon behaviour in lemurs. They also reproduce throughout the year, unlike even their closest relatives, likely due to the flexibility afforded to them by feeding on the sugary secretions of the larvae of planthoppers in the dry season. Its’ preferred habitat, dry forests, is one of the fastest declining habitats on Madagascar, with a 40% decrease in forest cover in 25 years.

The Northern giant mouse lemur wasn’t actually discovered until 2005, and since its discovery it has lacked certain aspects of scientific data and life history information to fully understand how to begin preserving and managing the remaining habitat of the species.

  • Order: Primates
  • Family: Cheirogaleidae
  • Population: f
  • Trend: decreasing
  • Size: 22cm
  • Weight: 300g
GE / IUCN Red List (?)
Not Evaluated Data Deficient Least Concern Near Threatened Vulnerable Endangered Critically Endangered Extinct in the Wild Extinct


Endemic to Madagascar and found in Ambato and Pasandava. Their area of occurrence is suggested to be limited by the Maeverano River in the south, and the Mahavavy river in the north.

Habitat and Ecology

This species inhabit dry and secondary forests, old banana plantations, gallery forests and abandoned cashew orchards. They sleep in groups of 2 to 8 animals, including several males. Tall trees with many lianas (vines) are preferred nest sites.

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Conservation Actions

For each key category of conservation action, we calculated a conservation attention score based on expert information. In this graph, a higher score means the action is being carried out more intensively over more of the species range. The colour shows how important each action is considered to be for the conservation of this species.

Engaging stakeholders
Addressing threats
Status of knowledge
Management plan
Capacity building
Behaviour change
Awareness raising
  Score: 100 means the activity occurs at high level across more than 75% of the species range
Very Low

Overall Conservation Attention

We combined all of the expert information on conservation actions to calculate an overall conservation attention score for this species. Please help us to reach our goal of establishing dedicated conservation attention at “High” levels for all EDGE species.

Very Low Low Medium High

More information

Recent studies have grouped all possible conservation activities for any species into nine key categories (Washington et. al 2015). For each action, we asked experts for each species to assess the extent to which that action is being carried out and how much of the species’ range that action occurs in. For each action we used these two pieces of information to calculate the conservation attention score per action. A score of 100 means that the action is being carried out to a high level across at least 75% of the species range. We then combined the scores for all actions into an overall conservation attention score for the species. The experts also judged how important each category was to the conservation of that particular species.

This wordcloud illustrates the threats facing this species. The size of each word indicates the extent of a species range that is affected by that threat (larger size means a greater area is affected). The colour of the word indicates how much that threat impacts the species (darker shades of red mean the threat is more severe).

Crops Agriculture Habitat change Wastewater Droughts Energy Extreme weather Fire Garbage Tourism Air pollution Gathering Hunting Roads/Rail Logging Shipping Invasive species Extreme temperatures Introduced genetic material Livestock Industry Wood plantations Ecosystem changes Utility lines Native species Work Recreation Unknown diseases

Threat wordcloud key:

Small area affected
Large area affected
Least severe
Most severe
Severity unknown
Source: EDGE

Download the survival blueprint for this species below. Each survival blueprint is compiled by an EDGE fellow working on the species with input from collaborators and stakeholders. The survival blueprint provides a status review (information on the distribution, protection status, habitat & ecology, threat and stakeholder analysis) and more information on the action programme listed here. 

Vision (30-50 years)

Conservation of a viable population of Mirza zaza in Sahamalaza Iles Radama National Park

Goal (5-10 years)

Improve the scientific knowledge of Mirza zaza to establish sustainable conservation of the species


Mirza zaza population monitoring Critical
Quantification of threats Critical
Increase environmental awareness around the study site High
Creation of sustainable activities (agriculture) High
Creation of protected area High

Naina Ratsimba Rabemananjara

  • Project name: Identifying the ecological needs of Mirza zaza for conservation management
  • Project site: Ankarafa Forest, Madagascar
  • Active: 2017 - 2019
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