Assessing reproductive profiles in female brown mouse lemurs (Microcebus rufus) from Ranomafana National Park, southeast Madagascar, using fecal hormone analysis

Am J Primatol. 2009 Jun;71(6):439-46. doi: 10.1002/ajp.20672.


Studies on reproductive endocrinology in wild primate populations have greatly increased in the last decades owing to the development of noninvasive techniques that can be applied under field conditions. However, small-bodied nocturnal species are not well represented on the long list of primates surveyed in the wild, and reproductive inferences regarding these animals in their natural habitats have not benefited from direct observations of hormonal changes. We collected fecal samples from female brown mouse lemurs (Microcebus rufus) in a southeastern rainforest of Madagascar in order to determine whether or not fecally excreted steroid levels show a consistent pattern of change during the reproductive season and are a useful complement to reproductive observations in wild-trapped individuals. Initial data show variation in reproductive hormone levels before and after estrus and estimated day of parturition. Elevated levels of excreted estradiol (E(2)) were observed around the time of estrus, whereas high levels of fecal progesterone (P) were seen during later stages of pregnancy and around parturition. A more complete picture of reproductive profiles in female mouse lemurs, and how they may change over the life span, can be obtained if hormone analyses are used to supplement field observations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cheirogaleidae / physiology*
  • Estradiol / analysis
  • Estradiol / physiology*
  • Feces / chemistry
  • Female
  • Madagascar
  • Pregnancy
  • Progesterone / analysis
  • Progesterone / physiology*
  • Reproduction / physiology*


  • Progesterone
  • Estradiol