On July 15, 2023, gray mouse lemur mom Teazel gave birth to a single female infant. Mouse lemurs most often give birth to twins, but Lunaria is one of a handful of singletons born this breeding season. Teazel has been a very attentive mom to her new daughter.
Because adult gray mouse lemurs only weigh between 1 1/2 and 3 ounces, their infants are born itty bitty—less than 1/10 of an ounce, or about 3 grams. By the time Lunaria was weighed at six days old, she had already grown to a healthy 13 grams.
Here at the Duke Lemur Center, we name mouse lemur infants after plants, herbs, spices, and hot sauces. Lunaria gets her name from a genus of flowering plants commonly referred to as Honesty or Silver Dollar Plants. They sport round, iridescent seed pods whose resemblance to the moon earns the genus their lunar name.
Just a few days later, gray mouse lemur Tiger Lily also gave birth to a singleton! At his three-day-old infant wellness exam, little Hazelnut weighed in at 8.8 grams—about the weight of three of his namesake hazelnuts.
Mouse lemur breeding season is a little more frenetic than those of our other species. Gray mouse lemurs are normally solitary, so males and females have to be introduced for breeding. Competition is an integral part of mouse lemur courtship, so each female needs to be introduced to multiple males at once. Then, once successful breeding has occurred, females are only pregnant for about 60 days before giving birth.
Hazelnut has already been observed leaving his nest and exploring the enclosure he shares with his mom. We can’t wait to see this curious little guy grow up!