Genus Mirza

Gray, 1870

General characteristics

We feel obliged to use this monotypic taxon, since the genus Mirza is commonly accepted and used by most scientists, although the grounds to resurrect Gray's genus Mirza are somewhat meager.
The species Mirza coquereli has been put by Tattersall, 1982 in the genus Mirza; however, it is still frequently referred to as belonging the genus Microcebus in many publications.
Mirza coquereli, at 300 g is, in fact, considerably larger than Microcebus murinus. Dorsally, the fur of this species is bright brown or gray-brown sometimes with rosy or yellowish or slightly russet tips (Tattersall, 1982).
M. coquereli occurs only in the western coastal forests and probably does not have any representative on the eastern coast (Map Mirza). The species is often confounded with Phaner furcifer in the zones where they coexist. The coloration of M. coquereli, however, is overall lighter, its snout is more pointed, its tail is brown, reddish on the distal half and it has no black marks on its pelage.


Mirza coquereli is a Cheirogaleinae, which, in spite of its larger size, is nevertheless very closely related to Microcebus murinus. Both species have a dense, light-brown pelage, a round head with a rather blunt snout, big eyes with a well-developed tapetum and large ears. Their general appearance and their locomotion are comparable, as well as their means of communication. The skulls of the two species are very similar, despite the differences in size. Both having a palate with converging rows of teeth and incisors, premolars and molars of comparable forms. Many of these shared characters, separate them from Cheirogaleus, and especially from Allocebus, although the three genera of Cheirogaleinae have the same number of chromosomes (64 autosomes and 2 gonosomes).
Certain authors who only studied museum material of both species proposed to put the species in separate genera, because of their differences in size. It seems better, taking into account their resemblance and respecting the laws of systematic priorities, to adopt the view of E. Schwarz, 1931 to retain both species in the genus Microcebus and not use the resurrected genus Mirza.


See subfamily Cheirogaleinae.