Ring-tailed lemur group sitting on the ground

Lemurs

Lemurs are an old group of primates which evolved in near isolation after Madagascar split away from the African mainland. They filled the ecological niches occupied by monkeys, the dominant primates, on mainland Africa. As there was no competition from monkeys on Madagascar, lemurs soon came to dominate its rainforests, until boats started to arrive around 2,000 years ago and human hunters arrived. Lemur size ranges from the world's smallest primate to - until fairly recently - some of its largest, the sloth lemurs, which rivalled gorillas in size.

Did you know?
Lemurs are named after the lemures (ghosts or spirits) of Roman mythology.

Scientific name: Lemuriformes

Rank: Infraorder

Watch video clips from past programmes (3 clips)

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Distribution

The Lemurs can be found in a number of locations including: Madagascar. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.

Behaviours

Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

When they lived

Discover the other animals and plants that lived during the following geological time periods.

BBC News about Lemurs

Video collections

Take a trip through the natural world with our themed collections of video clips from the natural history archive.

  • This is Planet Earth This is Planet Earth

    Narrated by Sir David Attenborough Planet Earth was the ground-breaking series that explored the wild and beautiful parts of our planet like never before.

  • David Attenborough's Madagascar David Attenborough's Madagascar

    Like nowhere else on Earth, the mystery and magic of Madagascar leaves a vivid impression on all those who visit, and none more so than David Attenborough.

Elsewhere on the BBC

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