Patas monkey

Erythrocebus patas

SUBFAMILY

Cercopithecinae

TRIBE

Cercopithecini TAXONOMY

Erythrocebus patas (Schreber, 1775), Senegal. The patas monkey is sometimes included in the genus Cercopithecus, but it is so distinctive in many features that recognition of the separate genus Erythrocebus is surely justified. Four subspecies have been recognized.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Hussar monkey, red monkey; French: Patas; German: Husarenaffe.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

This is the largest species in the guenon tribe Cercopithecini and there is pronounced sexual dimorphism in body size, with males weighing almost twice as much as females. The body fur is bright reddish orange dorsally and white ventrally. Both sexes have a conspicuous white mustache. In non-pregnant females, the nose is black and there is a black band across the temples and above the eyes. In males, the scrotum is bright blue. The limbs are long and slender, and the patas monkey is

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not currently regarded as threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

the only species that shows locomotion using the tips of the fingers (digitigrady) rather than the palms of the hand (palmi-grady) as in other primates. Head and body length: 26 in (65.5 cm) for males and 19.5 in (49.0 cm) for females; tail length: 27.5 in (68.5 cm) for males and 20.5 in (51.0 cm) for females. Body mass: 27 lb 5 oz (12.4 kg) for males and 14 lb oz (6.5 kg) for females.

DISTRIBUTION

Very large range in sub-Saharan Africa, extending from Senegal in the west to the borders of Ethiopia in the east and southward in East Africa down to Serengeti and Mount Kilimanjaro.

HABITAT

Semi-desert, grassland, and woodland savanna characterized by a pronounced dry season.

BEHAVIOR

Diurnal and predominantly terrestrial, although they occasionally climb trees while foraging and sleep in trees at night. Typically form one-male groups of moderate size, with surplus males forming bachelor groups. However, extra-group males commonly invade harem groups and mate with the females during the breeding season.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Feeds on fruits, seeds, gums, grasses, and a variety of animal prey, including insects, lizards, and birds' eggs.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Polygamous. Single births are typical. Females do not have a sexual swelling. There are well-defined mating and birth seasons. Gestation period 167 days. Unusually, there is a change in facial color in females during late pregnancy: the black coloration is lost from the nose and from the band across the temples and above the eyes, and does not reappear until about six weeks after birth.

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