A Case of Adult Cannibalism in the Gray Mouse Lemur, Microcebus murinus


  • Contract grant sponsor: German Research Foundation (DFG).

  • The author declares no conflict of interest.

Correspondence to: Anni Hämäläinen, Department of Sociobiology/Anthropology, University of Göttingen, Kellnerweg 6, 37077 Göttingen Germany. E-mail: anni.m.hamalainen@gmail.com


Cannibalism, defined as the eating of conspecific flesh, has been observed in a number of primate species, although it is still a relatively rare phenomenon. In cases where primates were seen feeding on an individual of the same species, the victims have exclusively been infants or juveniles. Here, I report an event of a free-living, adult male gray mouse lemur, Microcebus murinus, cannibalizing an adult conspecific female that died of an unknown cause. This observation has implications for the basic ecology of the species and highlights the potential for great flexibility in diet and behavior by a primate. This is, to my knowledge, the first communication of cannibalistic behavior in this species, as well as the first reported case of a nonhuman primate cannibalizing an adult conspecific. Am. J. Primatol. 74:783-787, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.