Blue monkey

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Blue monkey [1]
Blue monkey (Cercopithecus mitis stuhlmanni).jpg
C. m. stuhlmanni
Kakamega Forest, Kenya
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Suborder: Haplorhini
Infraorder: Simiiformes
Family: Cercopithecidae
Genus: Cercopithecus
C. mitis
Binomial name
Cercopithecus mitis
Wolf, 1822

6, see text

Cercopithecus mitis distribution map.png
Range map (note: includes the range of the closely related Sykes', silver, and golden monkey)

The blue monkey or diademed monkey (Cercopithecus mitis) is a species of Old World monkey [3] [4] native to Central and East Africa, ranging from the upper Congo River basin east to the East African Rift and south to northern Angola and Zambia. It sometimes includes Sykes', silver, and golden monkeys as subspecies. [1]



Several subspecies are recognised: [1]

At times, some of these have been regarded as full species, and additional subspecies have been considered valid, while others are not recognized by all authorities.


Despite its name, the blue monkey is not noticeably blue; it has little hair on its face, and this does sometimes give a blue appearance, but it never has the vivid blue appearance of a mandrill, for example. It is mainly olive or grey apart from the face (which is dark with a pale or yellowish patch on the forehead - the "diadem" from which the species derives its common name), the blackish cap, feet, and front legs, and the mantle, which is brown, olive, or grey depending on the subspecies. Typical sizes range from 50 to 65 cm in length, (not including the tail, which is almost as long as the rest of the animal), with females weighing a little over 4 kg and males up to 8 kg. [6]



The blue monkey is found in evergreen forests and montane bamboo forests, and lives largely in the forest canopy, coming to the ground infrequently. It is very dependent on humid, shady areas with plenty of water. It eats mainly fruit and leaves, but will take some slower-moving invertebrates. It prefers to live in tall trees, which provide both food and shelter, and is, therefore, like almost all guenons, suffering from the loss of its natural habitat. Where pine plantations replace natural forest, the monkey may be treated as a threat by foresters, since it sometimes strips bark from exotic trees in a search for food or moisture. [7] It is also hunted for bushmeat.


Blue monkeys eat fruits, figs, insects, leaves, twigs, and flowers. [8] “They are primarily frugivores, with 50% of their diet consisting of fruit, with leaves or insects as their main source of protein, with the rest of the diet being made up of seeds, flowers, and fungi. They rarely eat vertebrates. They eat a variety of plants, but concentrate on a few species, which means their population density is generally dependent on plant species' richness and diversity.” [9]


Cercopithecus mitis joins with the C. ascanius (red-tailed monkey) for extra protection. [10] Their social system is mainly female because the males leave once they are mature. [11] The males have little to no interaction with the young. C. mitis is very territorial, so the young males must leave quickly to help themselves become more successful. They challenge the dominant male of another family. If they defeat the dominant male, they take over the leadership of that family, and this offers a place to live, socialization, and food supplies for the young males." [12] C. mitis is said to be nomadic.

Social structure

The blue monkeys live in female-philopatric social systems where females stay in their natal groups, while males disperse once they reach adulthood. [3] As a result, blue monkey groups usually consist of one male with several females and infants, giving rise to matrilinear societies. [3] [13] [14] Occasionally, solitary males are observed, which are probably transient, having left their natal group in search of a new group. [7] [15] [16]

Social relationships

In these female-bonded societies, only 515% of monkeys' activity budget is occupied by social interactions and the most common social interactions within a group are grooming and playing. [13] [14] [17] [18] [19] Relationships between group members vary: infants interact most frequently with their peers and adult or juvenile females [3] and are rarely seen near adult males. [7] [3]

Alloparenting is common among blue monkeys. The most common infant handlers are juvenile females, and usually one infant is carried by a number of alloparents. One hypothesis is that this allows the infant to learn to socialise at an early stage in life. [3]

Interesting female-female relationships exist among blue monkeys. This relationship is believed to be shaped by their feeding ecology, which, in turn, is shaped by between-group and within-group competition. [19] Blue monkey females exhibit strong, aggressive competition between groups [13] [14] [18] and between other species because of their territorial character, [14] [18] but milder though more frequent competition within groups. [14] Though earlier beliefs were that blue monkeys are not territorial, more current extended research [18] shows that earlier researchers misinterpreted the results because social interactions overall are infrequent. Moreover, overall agonism rates in blue monkeys are very low. [14] [19] Within-group conflicts are mild and infrequent because females distance themselves from one another and feed at different sites to avoid competition. [14] [19] Although blue monkeys were believed to be egalitarian, current extended research confirms that linear dominance hierarchy occurs in female blue monkeys, [14] [18] which becomes more apparent when food resources are scarce. [14]


The mating system is polygynous, with a corresponding sexual dimorphism in size, as the males are the substantially larger sex. Females normally give birth every two years, during the onset of the warm, rainy season; gestation is around five months, and the infants are born with fur and with their eyes open. Group sizes range from 10 to 40, containing only a single adult male. It is often found in groups with other species of monkeys such as the red-tailed monkey and various red colobus monkeys. [20]

C. mitis males mate with more than one female, but the females only mate with one male. The female attracts males to copulate with her through body language. They breed throughout the year. [21] “The groups can have up to 40 members and the females usually help to care for all of the young, not just their own." [22]

Related Research Articles

Old World monkey Family of mammals

Old World monkey is the common English name for a family of primates known taxonomically as the Cercopithecidae. Twenty-four genera and 138 species are recognized, making it the largest primate family. Old World monkey genera include baboons, macaques, and mabahlls. Common names for other Old World monkeys include the talapoin, guenon, colobus, douc, vervet, gelada, mangabey, langur, mandrill, surili (Presbytis), patas, and proboscis monkey. Phylogenetically, they are more closely related to apes than to New World monkeys. They diverged from a common ancestor of New World monkeys around 55 million years ago.

Diana monkey Species of Old World monkey

The Diana monkey is an Old World monkey. The term “old-world monkey” refers to the family of monkeys known as Cercopithecoidea and the Diana monkey is only 1 species out of the 148 that are a part of this family.

Guenon Genus of Old World monkeys

The guenons are the genus Cercopithecus of Old World monkeys. Not all members of this genus have the word "guenon" in their common names; also, because of changes in scientific classification, some monkeys in other genera may have common names that include the word "guenon". Nonetheless, the use of the term guenon for monkeys of this genus is widely accepted.

White-throated guenon Species of Old World monkey

The white-throated guenon, also known as the red-bellied monkey and the red-bellied guenon, is a diurnal primate that lives on trees of rainforests or tropical areas of Nigeria and Benin.

Sclaters guenon Species of Old World monkey

Sclater's guenon, also known as Sclater's monkey and the Nigerian monkey, is an Old World monkey that was first described by Reginald Innes Pocock in 1904 and named after Philip Sclater. It is an arboreal and diurnal primate that lives in the forests of southern Nigeria. It should not be confused with the closely related species, the white-throated guenon, which occurs in Nigeria and Benin. Sclater's guenon was formerly classified as a subspecies of the red-eared guenon.

Preusss monkey Species of Old World monkey

The Preuss's monkey, also known as Preuss's guenon, is a diurnal primate that lives terrestrially in mountainous forests of eastern Nigeria, western Cameroon and Bioko in Equatorial Guinea. It was formerly classified as a subspecies of the L'Hoest's monkey.

Mantled guereza Species of mammal

The mantled guereza, also known simply as the guereza, the eastern black-and-white colobus, or the Abyssinian black-and-white colobus, is a black-and-white colobus, a type of Old World monkey. It is native to much of west central and east Africa, including Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Chad. The species consists of several subspecies that differ in appearance. It has a distinctive appearance, which is alluded to in its name; the long white fringes of hair that run along each side of its black trunk are known as a mantle. Its face is framed with white hair and it has a large white tail tuft.

De Brazzas monkey Species of Old World monkey

De Brazza's monkey is an Old World monkey endemic to the riverine and swamp forests of central Africa. The largest species in the guenon family, it is one of the most widespread arboreal African primates. Aside from size, it can be differentiated from other cercopithecus monkeys by its orange diadem and white beard. Due to its cryptic nature, the species is not well documented in all of its habitats but has shown unique traits such as pair-bonding and aggressive behavior towards other guenons.

Hamlyns monkey Species of Old World monkey

The Hamlyn's monkey, also known as the owl-faced monkey, is a species of Old World monkey that inhabits the bamboo and primary rainforests of the Congo. This species is exceedingly rare and known only from a few specimens; little is known about it. However these specimens tend to be widely dispersed throughout the eastern part of Congo, from the Epulu River to the Lukuga River and from the Congo River to the Kabale Forest, with one example in northwestern Rwanda. Geographically it corresponds quite closely to another species of monkey, L'Hoest's monkey C. lhoesti. It travels on the ground, and researchers think that it may be awake primarily by night.

LHoests monkey Species of mammal

L'Hoest's monkey or mountain monkey, is a guenon found in the upper eastern Congo basin. They mostly live in mountainous forest areas in small, female-dominated groups. They have a dark coat and can be distinguished by a characteristic white beard.

Wolfs mona monkey Species of Old World monkey

Wolf's mona monkey, also called Wolf's guenon, is a colourful Old World monkey in the family Cercopithecidae. It is found in central Africa, primarily between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda. It lives in primary and secondary lowland rainforest and swamp forest.

Greater spot-nosed monkey Species of Old World monkey

The greater spot-nosed monkey or putty-nosed monkey is one of the smallest Old World monkeys. It is a guenon of the C. mitis group, native to West Africa and living to some extent in rain forests, but more often in the transition zone between rain forest and savannah. It is primarily arboreal and often associates with monkeys of other species. Both their common names come from the monkeys' prominent white nose.

Red-eared guenon Species of Old World monkey

The red-eared guenon, red-eared monkey, or russet-eared guenon is a species of primate in the family Cercopithecidae. It is found in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, and Nigeria. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests. It is threatened by habitat loss, illegal bushmeat hunting and pet trade.

Lesser spot-nosed monkey Species of Old World monkey

The lesser spot-nosed monkey, lesser spot-nosed guenon, lesser white-nosed guenon, or lesser white-nosed monkey is a species of primate in the family Cercopithecidae. It is found in Ivory Coast, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Togo, Guinea-Bissau, and possibly Senegal.

Crested mona monkey Species of Old World monkey

The crested mona monkey, also known as the crowned guenon, crowned monkey, golden-bellied guenon, or golden-bellied monkey,, is a species of African primate in the family Cercopithecidae found in west central Africa.

The silver monkey is a species of Old World monkey found primarily in East Africa. Its range includes Burundi, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The silver monkey was previously considered a subspecies of the blue monkey.

Roloway monkey Species of Old World monkey

The roloway monkey is an endangered species of Old World monkey endemic to tropical West Africa. It was previously considered a subspecies of the Diana monkey. It is classified as Critically Endangered due to habitat loss and continued hunting for the bushmeat trade. The roloway monkeys are mainly arboreal species, for the most part inhabiting forests in Ghana and some reserves in South-Eastern Côte-D'Ivoire. More specifically studies have shown that the C. diana roloway is mostly concentrated in Tanoé forest because of their heavy threats to extinction.

Sykes monkey Species of Old World monkey

Sykes' monkey, also known as the white-throated monkey or Samango monkey, is an Old World monkey found between Ethiopia and South Africa, including south and east Democratic Republic of Congo. It is named after English naturalist Colonel William Henry Sykes (1790-1872), and has been considered conspecific with the blue monkey, but has a large white patch on the throat and upper chest, and a grizzled cap.

Tantalus monkey Species of Old World monkey

The tantalus monkey is an Old World monkey from Africa that ranges from Ghana to Sudan. It was originally described as a subspecies of the grivet. All species in Chlorocebus were formerly in the genus Cercopithecus. It is a common species with a wide range, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature has rated its conservation status as being of "least concern".

Red-tailed monkey Species of Old World monkey

The red-tailed monkey, also known as the black-cheeked white-nosed monkey, red-tailed guenon, redtail monkey, or Schmidt's guenon is a species of primate in the family Cercopithecidae.


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