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This member of the guenon family has a gray body with black extremities and tail, long white beard, white muzzle, and prominent orange crown; facial markings are distinct between individuals. There are also prominent white stripes on the thighs and rump, and the male has a very distinct blue scrotum. Both males and females have well-developed cheek pouches and the most robust feet of all of the guenons.
Males are significantly larger than females, with a length of 16-25 inches and weight of 9-12 pounds.
Distribution and Habitat
DeBrazza's monkeys are found in Central Africa, from Cameroon to Ethiopia and Kenya to Angola; they are more numerous in the eastern part of that range. They inhabit swamps, forests, and seasonally flooded areas, and are most common in the closed canopy and within a mile of a river or stream.
Males typically compete to control access to a group of females, but some monogamous pairs have been observed. Breeding can take place any time of the year, but is more common when food is available.
One (rarely two) infant is born after a gestation of 5-6 months. The infant is born with its eyes open and immediately clings to the mother's belly. Although it will begin to eat some solid food at about 2 months, the mother will continue to nurse her young for up to a year. Young females typically stay with their mothers a long as they live, whereas males leave when they are sexually mature, which comes at 5-6 years.
How much the male participates in the care of young has never been documented in the wild, nor has an average lifespan in the wild been determined.
While fruits and seeds make up the majority of the diet, DeBrazza's monkeys also eat leaves, flowers, mushrooms, insects, and worms. Foraging is done in the early morning and evening.
Habits and Behaviors
DeBrazza's monkeys prefer to be in the trees, but are also comfortable on the ground. Unlike most other monkeys, they move around on all fours, even in the trees. They are also excellent swimmers.
The most common social group consists of a single adult male, two or three adult females, and up to eight juveniles, but troops of up to 35 individuals have been recorded.
Communication between Debrazza's monkeys is both vocal and visual. Visual communication includes staring as a threat, sometimes with the mouth open but the lips covering the teeth. Another threat display is bobbing the head up and down. To reduce aggression in certain situations the lips are retracted showing clenched teeth. As an expression of tension or as another threat display, yawning by adult males is performed to show the canines. Vocal communication consists of low boom calls to communicate territorialiy, and isolation calls often given by infant or juvenile monkeys when they become separated from the troop.
This monkey is named for Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza, the founder of Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of the Congo.
Library >> Science >> Zoology >> Mammals >> Order Primates
This page was last updated on May 17, 2017.