Microcebus ravelobensis is the largest of the western Madagascar mouse lemurs. It has a head-body length of 12–13 cm, a tail length of 15–17 cm, a total length of 27–30 cm, and a body weight of 56–87 g (Rasoloarison et al., 2000; Andriantompohavana et al., 2006). The dorsal coat, including the crown and ears, is rufous and mottled; the mid-dorsal stripe is poorly defined. The lighter ventral fur is also mottled or bicolored. The region between the eyes is pale grayish, changing to cinnamon toward the crown. Tail color darkens toward the tip (Zimmermann et al., 1997, 1998).
Microcebus ravelobensis is sympatric with M. murinus, and can be confused with it in the wild. However, Microcebus ravelobensis has a longer tail and is rufous in coloration.
Microcebus ravelobensis inhabits dry deciduous lowland forests up to 500 m, and can be observed even in degraded patches. It appears to prefer forests with a lower canopy height and more lianas than those inhabited by M. murinus, and also uses tree holes less often. The social behavior of the two species seems to be similar (Radespiel et al., 2003; Rendigs et al., 2003; Weidt et al., 2004).
The type specimen for this species was collected adjacent to Lac Ravelobe in Ankarafantsika National Park, in northwestern Madagascar. It also occurs in the Mariarano Classified Forest, just north of Mahajunga (Zimmermann et al., 1997, 1998; E. E. Louis Jr., pers. obs.).
According to the 2008 IUCN Red List assessment,
M. ravelobensis is Endangered (EN). Principal threats include habitat loss due to slash- and-burn cultivation and seasonal brush fires, and predation by feral cats and dogs. Ankarafantsika National Park is the only protected area where the golden-brown mouse lemur is known to occur, but it has been reported from two classified forests. Surveys are needed to determine the full extent of its range. In addition, consideration should be given to establishing a protected area that includes the Mariarano Classified Forest.
As of 2009, this species was not being kept in captivity (ISIS, 2009).
This species can be seen with relative ease during night walks in forests surrounding Lac Ravelobe near the tourist camp at Ampijoroa in Ankarafantsika National Park. However, it can be difficult to distinguish from M. murinus unless one gets a very clear sighting. Be sure to take an experienced guide to help distinguish the two species.