The Thinker...

Highest Explore Position #397 ~ On the Thirteenth of February 2008.

 

Baby Cherry Crowned Mangabey - Colchester Zoo, Colchester, Essex, England - Monday February 11th 2008. (Image taken through glass)

Born 16th July 2007.

 

Mangabeys are some of the most rare and endangered monkeys on Earth. These large, forest-living monkeys are found only in Africa. They look somewhat like guenons but are bigger. Local people call some of them "the ones with the thin waist" or "four-eyed monkeys" because some mangabey species have bright white eyelids. Taxonomists have put mangabeys into two separate genera: white-eyelid mangabeys Cerocebus sp. and crested mangabeys Lophocebus sp., based on physical differences. White-eyelid mangabeys are most closely related to mandrills and drills, and the males are much larger than the females; crested mangabeys are more closely related to baboons and geladas and both males and females are about the same size. All mangabeys have tails that are longer than their bodies, providing balance for them as they scamper through the rain forest canopy.

 

Depending on the species or subspecies, mangabeys can be golden brown, gray, dark brown, or a soft black, usually with a lighter color on their underbellies. Youngsters are usually darker than the adults. White-collared mangabeys Cerocebus torquatus have reddish hair on their heads, a "beard" on each cheek, and white hair that wraps around their neck like a collar (hence the name!). Black mangabeys Lophocebus atterimus have long, grayish brown whiskers that almost cover their ears and a high crest on their head—a pointy hairdo!

 

A swingin' home

Like most monkeys, mangabeys are very much at home in trees, spending most of their time there. However, white-eyelid mangabeys are also comfortable on the ground, traveling on their hands and feet between patches of forest or to forage in the leaf litter for tasty food items. In some areas of the forest, the ground is swampy, but it’s not a problem for the mangabeys. Webbing between their fingers and toes helps these amazing monkeys to swim! All mangabeys are excellent jumpers, and gray-cheeked mangabeys Lophocebus albigena and white-collared mangabeys have tails that are strong enough to help them hook on to branches as they leap about the forest canopy.

 

Monkey business

Mangabeys live in groups, called troops, of about 10 to 40 individuals, depending on the species and the availability of food and habitat. There is usually one adult male that acts as leader and the troop's defender, but sometimes the larger troops have two or three adult males that split off with their own family units to forage for food. When a male becomes sexually mature he leaves his troop to find another one to join. If he can't find one, he will live alone until he does; single males do not form all-male groups. When there is plenty of food available, mangabey troops will often gather together for a while and even exchange troop members.

 

 

 

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Taken on February 11, 2008
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