Western Red Colobus Monkey (Procolobus badius)

The pelage color of the red colobus monkey ranges from light orange to orange-red. The hair around the pubic area is white colored. Juveniles of both sexes have perineal organs that mimics the adult female’s sexual swelling (Estes, 1991). It is thought that this functions for the males to keep adult males from evicting them because the adult would think that this may be a female (Estes, 1991). The average body mass for an adult male red colobus monkey is about 8.2 kilograms, and for the female it is about 8.2 kilograms too (Fleagle, 1988).

The red colobus monkey is found in Central and Western Africa. This species lives in moist tropical and gallery rainforests. This lives in all levels of the main canopy.

The red colobus monkey consumes immature leaves, shoots, fruits of the leguminosae, fungi, and sometimes termite clay. This species likes to forage for leaves in the upper strata of the forest (Estes, 1991). Group sizes range from 60 to 80 individuals. The red colobus monkey is a diurnal and arboreal species. The food resources are not evenly distributed, but are abundant, and the red colobus might have large groups so as to defend these food resources (Fleagle, 1988).

The red colobus monkey moves through the forest quadrupedally (Fleagle, 1988). This species also is capable of leaping where it uses this in communication and to avoid predators (Estes, 1991).

The red colobus monkey has two kinds of groups, one multimale-multifemale, and the other all-male. The all-male groups have a range in size from 8 to 40 individuals. For this species both males and females leave their natal group (Estes, 1991). Infanticide has been recorded to occur in this species (Leland et al., 1984). The red colobus is a nonterritorial species, but larger groups will supplant smaller ones in feeding areas (Estes, 1991).



social presenting: This is where the sender positions their body so the hindquarters are facing the receiver and the body is more lower than in presenting (Estes, 1991). This is performed by females, subadult males, and juveniles and is used to communicate submission to a more dominant individual and gets a response of social mounting or social grooming (Estes, 1991).

social mounting: The performer of this stands and resembles a sexual mount and is done by all except small infants (Estes, 1991). This often occurs before social grooming and is a response to social presenting (Estes, 1991).

social grooming: This is when one individual grooms another and is used to reinforce the bonds between individuals. In this species it occurs more frequently in the presence of another troop (Estes, 1991). Parasites and dead skin is removed with lips and/or tongue (Estes, 1991).

The red colobus monkey gives birth to a single offspring. During estrus the perineum of the female swells (Hrdy and Whitten, 1987).

presenting: This behavior is performed by the female to elicit copulation from the male; this pattern tells the male that she is ready for copulation (Estes, 1991).

Burton, F. 1995. The Multimedia Guide to the Non-human Primates. Prentice-Hall Canada Inc.

Estes, R.D. 1991. The Behavior Guide to African Mammals. University of California Press.

Fleagle, J.G. 1988. Primate Adaptation and Evolution. Academic Press.

Hrdy, S.B. and Whitten P.L. 1987. Patterning of Sexual Activity. In Primate Societies. eds. B.B. Smuts, D.L. Cheney, R.M. Seyfarth, R.W. Wrangham, and T.T. Struhsaker. University of Chicago Press.

Leland, L., Struhsaker,T.T., Butynski, T.M. 1984. Infanticide by Adult Males in Three Primate Species of the Kibale Forest, Uganda: A Test of Hypotheses. In Infanticide: Comparative and Evolutionary Perspectives. eds. G. Hausfater and S.B. Hrdy. Aldine, Hawthorne, NY.

Last Updated: December 19, 2005.
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