Venezuelan red howler monkey

Alouatta seniculus

SUBFAMILY

Mycetinae

TAXONOMY

Simia seniculus (Linnaeus, 1766), Colombia.

OTHER COMMON NAMES English: Red howler monkey.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Dark red-maroon head, back, and limbs, with lighter, more golden sides. Crown hair as runs forward to meet the forehead hair in a concave V.

DISTRIBUTION

South and eastern Venezuela and northwestern Brazil; may also be sympatric with Alouatta palliata.

HABITAT

Gallery and semi-deciduous forest, secondary forest.

BEHAVIOR

Both males and females disperse, but over 20% of females may remain and breed in their natal troops. Females that remain in their natal troops reproduce earlier than females that disperse. Recruitment of daughters appears to be constrained by troop size, with four females being the usual limit. Male red howler monkeys are tolerated in their natal troops longer than male mantled howler monkeys, and may disperse more than once during their lifetimes. Troops may include more than one male, and males sometimes remain together after dispersing from their natal troops. Coalitions of males appear to be more successful at rebuffing threats from extra-troop males, and may therefore hold onto their position in female troops longer than solitary males.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Like other species of howler monkeys, red howler monkey diets are highly folivorous. Their day ranges are similarly short, and their home ranges similarly small compared to other atel-idae genera.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Polygamous. Alpha males have higher mating success than other males, and in multimale troops, the alpha male may account for 100% of the fertilizations. Births occur throughout the year, and birth intervals average just under two years. Male red howler monkeys that takeover a troop have been reported to kill infants sired by the males they have ousted.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not listed by the IUCN, although one subspecies, Alouatta seniculus insulanus, is classified as Vulnerable and three subspecies, A. s. amazonica, A. s. juara, and A. s. puruensis are classified as Data Deficient.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS Hunted for meat. ♦

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