Mantled howler monkey

Alouatta palliata

SUBFAMILY

Mycetinae

TAXONOMY

Mycetes palliata (Gray, 1849), Nicaragua.

OTHER COMMON NAMES None known.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Black, with a "fringe" on flanks of long gold or brown hair. Backward forehead hair forms a straight crest on crown.

DISTRIBUTION

Mexico through Central America to western Colombia and Ecuador.

HABITAT

Evergreen rainforest, dry decidious forest in lowland and some mangrove forest.

BEHAVIOR

Mantled howler monkeys live in cohesive, multimale, multifemale groups with 4-21 individuals. Both males and females establish dominance hierarchies. Glander found that young females become top ranking when they immigrate into troops, but achieve their highest reproductive success as older, mid-ranking troop members. Males compete aggressively for high rank, and rarely maintain their alpha status for more than a few years. Both sexes disperse from their natal groups. Inter-troop interactions are usually aggressive and occur wherever they are within their overlapping home ranges, which vary from 25 to 148 acres (10-60 ha) in size.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Leaves comprise over 60% of mantled howler monkey diets. They exhibit preferences for young leaves over mature leaves, and eat fruits and flowers whenever they can. Consistent with a heavy dietary reliance on leaves, which are low in energy, mantled howler monkeys spend nearly two-thirds of their days resting, and day ranges are rarely longer than 0.6 mi (1 km).

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Polygamous. Alpha males have higher mating success than other males. Births occur throughout the year, but tend to be concentrated in the dry season in more seasonal habitats. Average birth intervals are just under two years, and gestation is about six mos. Females give birth to their first infants at about four years of age, similar to other species of Alouatta and younger than the other atelidae genera.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not listed by the IUCN, although the subspecies Alouatta palliata mexicana is classified as Vulnerable.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS Hunted for meat. ♦

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