Information about Lemurs:
Lemurs are an order of primates that live exclusively on the island of Madagascar. Their name comes from Roman mythology, referring to ghosts – likely due to the nocturnal habits and large, reflective eyes of some of the species. While sometimes mistaken for monkeys, they are a separate branch of primates that began to develop into their own suborder “Strepsirrhini” some 65 million years ago. The uniqueness of the species comes from the fact they evolved over many millennia cut off from the rest of the world on a massive island (Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world.) Most lemur species are gregarious and live in groups with several individuals. Most species have divergent digits and fingernails rather than claws. Lemurs range from being very small (1.1 ounce or 30 grams) to some of the large species the size of an average monkey, about 20 pounds. Lemurs are generally plant eaters, although some species will supplement their diets with insects and fruit. Due to deforestation of their island home (nearly all of the old growth forests in Madagascar are now gone or are only a small fraction of what they once were) most of the species of lemur are endangered or near threatened. Many conservation groups are fighting to preserve the few remaining areas where the lemurs live, most of these being in nationally designated parks.