Olive colobus

Procolobus verus

SUBFAMILY

Colobinae

TAXONOMY

Procolobus verus (van Beneden, 1838), Africa. This is the only species in the genus Procolobus and no subspecies are recognized. The olive colobus was originally included in the genus Colobus along with all other colobus monkeys, but several distinctive features (such as the sexual swelling of females) justify its classification in a separate genus.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Green colobus; French: Colobe vert, colobe de van Beneden; German: Grüner Stummelaffe; Spanish: Colobo verde.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

This is the smallest species in the subfamily Colobinae. Fur dull olive-brown dorsally and light gray to white ventrally. The face is framed with gray hair and there is a low crest of hair along the midline of the head. There is only mild sexual dimorphism in body size. Head and body length: 19.0 in (48.0 cm) for males and 18.5 in (46.5 cm) for females; tail length: 22.5 in (56.0 cm) for males and 23 in (57.5 cm) for females. Body mass: 10 lb 6 oz (4.7 kg) for males and 9 lb 4 oz (4.2 kg) for females.

DISTRIBUTION

Range extends from Sierra Leone to eastern Nigeria, with some intervening gaps.

HABITAT

Occupies a range of habitats, including evergreen rainforest, swamp forest and even dry deciduous forest.

BEHAVIOR

Diurnal and arboreal. Typically live in small uni-male groups with less than a dozen members. It is possible that females migrate from the natal group on reaching maturity, which would make this species another exception among Old World monkeys.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Food is taken from a large number of different tree species. Approximately two thirds of the diet consists of young leaves, but mature leaves, seeds, flowers and fruits together make up the rest.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Generally polygynous. Births are typically single. There are restricted mating and birth seasons. The species is unique among higher primates in that infants are carried in the mother's mouth. Olive and red colobus are also unusual among colobine monkeys in that females exhibit a moderate-sized sexual swelling around the time of ovulation. The species has been little studied in captivity, so basic reproductive features such as the gestation period are unknown.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Listed as Lower Risk/Near Threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS Frequently hunted for bushmeat. ♦

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