Microcebus lehilahytsara is one of the smaller mouse lemurs. It has a head-body length of approximately 9 cm and a weight of 45–48 g (Kappeler et al., 2005). The fur is short and dense. The dorsal coat is bright maroon with an orange tinge on the back, head, and tail, turning creamy-white on the ventrum. A distinct white stripe runs from the nose to the forehead. The ears are short and round. The scrotum is furred and the testes are noticeably large.
This species is very similar in size and appearance to Microcebus rufus, with which it might easily be confused. It is also found in the same forests with two other small nocturnal genera, Allocebus and Cheirogaleus. Allocebus is very similar in size and has very distinctive tufted ears, but it would be difficult to distinguish between the two unless one obtained a very good look at the animal. Cheirogaleus is larger still and tends not to move as rapidly.
The ecology and behavior has been studied at Andasibe
(Périnet) (Ganzhorn, 1987a, 1988, 1989). Ganzhorn (1987)
observed M. lehilahytsara not only in the natural forest
of the region but also regularly, if in lower numbers, in
adjacent patches of old eucalyptus plantations where the
understory was sufficiently developed to allow travel
without descending to the ground. Generally solitary, it
feeds on fruits and insects in shrubs and low trees as well as in the upper canopy of the forest (Ganzhorn, 1988, 1989). Population density at Andasibe was estimated at 110 ±34 individuals/km2 (Ganzhorn, 1988). These studies were published using the name M. rufus for this species.
At present this species is known only from the type locality of Andasibe and neighboring areas, for example, Maromizaha Forest (Randrianambinina and Rasoloharijaona, 2006), the Analamazaotra Special Reserve, the Anjozorobe Angavo Protected Area and Mantadia National Park in eastern Madagascar (Kappeler et al., 2005; Roos and Kappeler, 2006; Louis et al., 2008). These mouse lemurs were previously considered to be M. rufus.
There is insufficient information to determine the conservation status of M. lehilahytsara, and the latest IUCN Red List assessment (2008) classified it as Data Deficient (DD). Its geographic range is poorly known. It occurs in the Mantadia National Park, the Analamazaotra Special Reserve, Maromizaha forest, and in the Anjozorobe Angavo Protected Area, managed by the NGO Fanamby (Kappeler et al., 2005; Louis et al., 2008). Its presence in Mangerivola Special Reserve has yet to be ascertained (Roos and Kappeler, 2006).
As of 2009 there were approximately two dozen individuals of this species in captivity, most of them in Switzerland and in the Tsimbazaza Zoo in Antananarivo, Madagascar (E. E. Louis Jr., pers. obs.; I. J. Porton, pers. comm.).
Goodman’s mouse lemur can be readily observed in the Analamazaotra Special Reserve near Andasibe (= Périnet), about three hours drive east of Antananarivo. There are four lodges to choose from: the upscale Vakona Forest Lodge, the conveniently located Hotel Feon’ny Ala, the quaint Mikalo Hotel, which also has a row of new higher quality chalets, and the Eulophiella Lodge close to the Andasibe and Mantadia Reserves. The Saha Forest Camp, managed by the NGO Fanamby, provides for tours of the Anjozorobe Angavo Protected Area.