The small-bodied nocturnal mouse lemurs (genus Microcebus) occupy a variety of habitats in Madagascar. Gray (M. murinus) and brown (M. rufus) mouse lemurs have been widely studied both in the wild and captivity. Whereas captive studies revealed an endogenous regulation of reproduction entrained by photoperiod, field studies have suggested that reproductive activation could be affected by additional climatic, physical, or social conditions. I collected data on wild brown mouse lemur females at Ranomafana between 2004 and 2008 to determine: 1) the timing of estrus and estrous periodicities across multiple seasons, and 2) whether additional factors such as body mass, age, or rainfall are correlated with onset of reproduction. In mouse lemur females at Ranomafana, the first seasonal estrus occurs 3–4 weeks after the vernal equinox. I report ∼1 month's intra-population variation in the timing of estrus and inter-annual estrous intervals with periodicities of ∼365 days. There were significant differences between the onset of reproduction across years. Estrous onset was uncorrelated with body mass, but there was an apparent age effect. There was a significant negative correlation between August rainfall and onset of reproduction when 2004 data were removed from the analysis. Results from this study are consistent with the notion that timing of estrus is photoperiod-dependent. As in captivity, intra-population variation in estrous onset is ∼4 weeks in length. In the wild, variation in estrous onset and polyestry (multiple reproductive opportunities per year) appear to be favored under the highly unpredictable conditions of Madagascar's environments. In the wild, variation in estrous onset and polyestry (multiple reproductive opportunities per year) appear to be favored under the highly unpredictable conditions of Madagascar's environments. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.