Physical characteristics

Lemuridae are arboreal primates, the size of house cats, with bodies, limbs, hands and feet much like those of monkeys, somewhat foxlike heads with long muzzles, and large, brightly hued, round, owl-like eyes. Adult Lemuridae head-and-body length ranges 11-22 in (28-56 cm) and tail length 11-25.5 in (28-65 cm). The tail length in most species is longer than the head-and-body length. Adult weights run 4.4-10 lb (2-4.5 kg). Bodies and limbs are gracile, the hind limbs longer than the forelimbs. The pelage is dense, soft, woolly or cottony, and rather long. Species may carry face or neck ruffs of long fur. Coat colors and patterns vary considerably among species. Some species are sexually dichromatic.

The eyes are set close for binocular vision, and in most species are brilliantly colored. Olfactory communication being important, lemuridae are equipped with scent glands in various parts of their bodies, the exact number and location

Scent-marking in Lemur catta. 1. The lemur scent marks a sapling with his brachial gland; 2. The lemur runs his tail between his brachial glands to saturate it with scent; 3. The lemur flicks scent toward a rival lemur band with his tail in a "stink fight." (Illustration by Gillian Harris)

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