Lemurs: A diverse group of endangered primates

Lemurs are a unique group of primates native to Madagascar, an island off the coast of east Africa. Although they are related to monkeys and apes, lemurs make up a separate branch of the primate family tree and are classified as a superfamily, made up of five individual lemur families and more than 100 different species.

Lemurs have pointed snouts with wet noses and rely more on their sense of smell than monkeys do, according to the Lemur Conservation Foundation. The lemur superfamily includes ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) popularized by the “Madagascar” film franchise, and the peculiar aye-ayes (Daubentonia madagascariensis) — previously described by Live Science as “so ugly it’s cute.” Lemurs’ appearance, diet and habitat vary between the different species, but each one plays a role in the rich and varied ecosystems of Madagascar.