Lemurs’ fur colour may not define species

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Mouse lemurs with distinct coat colors and shared genetics.
(Credit: L. R. Godfrey)

“Researchers have found that lemurs suspected to belong to different species because of their strikingly different coat colors, are not only genetically alike, but belong to the same species.”

Historically, species classification has been based on comparison of visible physical characteristics of plants or animals… Over the past decade, the number of proposed species of mouse lemurs has jumped from two to fifteen, based on physical differences.

The researchers found that although the lemurs appeared to be different species because they were visually distinct, they did not differ genetically. According to the sequence of their cytochrome b genes, all belong to the same previously identified species, Microcebus griseorufus.