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De Brazza's monkey

Scientific name: Cercopithecus neglectus


 

CLASS: Mammalia
ORDER: Primates
FAMILY: Cercopithecidae
 

FEEDING TYPE: Omnivore
STATISTICS: Weight: 8-16 lbs; Height: 15-25 in

DESCRIPTION:
The DeBrazza’s monkey has a black face with a chestnut brown headband and a prominent white beard. There is also a bright orange patch on its brow. Its body is olive brown in color. Full color takes four years to develop. It has a long non-prehensile tail, which is carried downward in a curved position. There are no visual differences between sexes other than the female’s smaller size and the brownish-red color of her genital area, as opposed to the male’s blue-colored genital area.

RANGE:
The DeBrazza’s monkey can be found in Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zaire.

HABITAT:
The DeBrazza’s monkey can usually be found in forests, swamps, and seasonally flooded areas. It likes closed canopy, preferring dense vegetation and being close to a water source.

ADAPTATIONS:
A vocal sac inflates and permits the DeBrazza’s monkey to create booming calls. The DeBrazza’s monkey prefers to be in the trees where it can move quietly and successfully avoid predators; however, it is also comfortable on the ground. It can often be found moving quadrupedally, on all four limbs, at dawn and dusk as it gathers food on the ground. Strong leg muscles give it the power to leap great distances, and a long tail helps maintain balance.
Males are very territorial, and will defend a territory by fighting. Threat behaviors include open mouth stare, lunging with tail raised and head lowered and arms held stiffly. Submission behaviors include eye aversion, lip smacking and grimacing. There is little aggression toward the adult male, who delivers the most threats.Grooming is important in social behavior and communication. Infants play with each other and with other juveniles. Frequency of play drops sharply with age, and adults rarely initiate play. The DeBrazza’s monkey has cheek pouches that allow it to feed rapidly and then chew and swallow food at its leisure. It is a diurnal animal that is both arboreal and terrestrial. The groups can have numbers of four to thirty-five individuals.

REPRODUCTION/GROWTH:
DeBrazza’s monkeys have a definite social order, and live in family groups that include one adult male, two or three adult females, and up to eight young. Some males, however, will maintain a monogamous relationship with just one female.

DeBrazza’s monkeys breed throughout the year. The female is the one who solicits copulation. Gestation is usually five to six months with generally one young born. To reduce the risk of predation, the young are almost always born at night and cling tightly to the mother’s belly immediately after birth. Young are dependent on their mothers for food, comfort, grooming, and protection until they are weaned at one year old. However, young begin to eat solid food at two months of age, and are capable of leaving their mothers to forage for food. Young females will stay with their mothers for life while the young males will leave when they are sexually mature at five to six years of age.

PREY/PREDATOR:
Predator to insects and small animals
Prey to chimpanzees, leopards, avian predators, and snakes

STATUS:
DeBrazza’s monkey populations are listed as Lower Risk-Least Concern on the IUCN Red List and on CITES Appendix II, which means their populations are fairly stable. The threats these monkeys face are habitat destruction and cultivation as well as being part of the pet trade. High levels of infant mortality and low levels of fertility are threats to captive populations.

SPECIAL NOTES:

  • The DeBrazza’s monkey is an Old World monkey and a member of the Guenon family, one of the largest groups of primates in the world.


BIBLIOGRAPHY:

  1. Como Zoo Volunteer Manual. DeBrazza’s Monkey, 1993. pp 506.03
  2. Wildlife Conservation Society. Bronx Zoo Congo Gorilla Forest
  3. Stein, J. 2002. "Cercopithecus neglectus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed July 17, 2008

 

Published: December 2008

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