Wolf's mona monkey

Last updated

Wolf's mona monkey [1]
Wolf's Mona Monkey.jpg
Wolf's mona monkey at the Henry Doorly Zoo
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Suborder: Haplorhini
Infraorder: Simiiformes
Family: Cercopithecidae
Genus: Cercopithecus
C. wolfi
Binomial name
Cercopithecus wolfi
(Meyer, 1891)

Wolf's mona monkey (Cercopithecus wolfi), 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.



The species was first described from a living specimen in the Zoological Garden at Dresden. It was brought in 1887 by Dr Ludwig Wolf from somewhere in central west Africa. The species was described in 1891 and named after the collector. This specimen died in October 1891 and the skeletal characteristics were described in 1894. [3] [4]

Wolf's mona monkey is in the C. mona grouping within the genus Cercopithecus along with Campbell's mona monkey, Dent's mona monkey, Lowe's mona monkey, the mona monkey, and the crested mona monkey. [1] Wolf's mona monkey was previously considered a subspecies of the crested mona monkey. [1] [5] The genus Cercopithecus is part of the subfamily Cercopithecinae along with baboons, mangabeys, and macaques. This subfamily shares several common traits such as cheek pouches, low and rounded molar cusps, and simple stomachs; all adaptations to a frugivorous diet.

Wolf's mona monkey has two subspecies [1] which are separated by a large area of swamp forest: [6]

Physical characteristics

Facial close-up Wolf's Mona Monkey face.jpg
Facial close-up

Guenons, the largest group of African primates, are very colorful. Their color is used in intraspecific communication for recognizing individuals, species, and potential mates. Wolf's mona monkey is dark grey with a red "saddle" on its back. The pelage depends on the subspecies. C. wolfi wolfi has a chestnut-colored patch on the middle of its back. [6] Its arms are black and legs are red. [6] It has a yellow underside, occasionally with an orange stripe down its flanks. [6] Its cheek whiskers are yellow, speckled with black, and its ear tufts are red. [6] C. wolfi elegans has a back which is gradually browner towards the rump. [6] Its forearms are black, and its upper arms have a pale speckling. [6] Its legs are light gray, while its underside is white. [6] Its cheek whiskers are white, with dark speckling that increases near the base. [6] Its ear tufts are white. [6] The male's scrotum is blue. [6] Wolf's mona monkey is also sexually dimorphic in size. Males weigh, on average, almost twice as much as females, 4.5 kilograms (10 lb) and 2.5 kilograms (5.5 lb) respectively. [7] Its small size makes it susceptible to predators, especially the crowned eagle and the leopard.


Diet and feeding

The diet of Wolf's mona monkey differs depending on location. Although predominantly a frugivore, it may also forage for seeds and insects for protein. Since it has no adaptations for leaf eating, its leaf diet mainly consists of young and easily digestible leaves.

Social systems

Grooming Wolfs Mona Monkey Cercopithecus wolfi Bronx Zoo 4 cropped.jpg

The birth season for Wolf's mona monkey is from June through December due to rainfall and resource availability. It lives in a single male/multi-female group. It is female philopatric, with males dispersing from the group at sexual maturity. Because one male controls several females there is extreme competition for the alpha male position. Females, on the other hand, are generally amicable and participate in grooming and allomothering. Unlike macaques there are no strong linear dominance hierarchies.

Conspecific groups are generally intolerant of each other. Both males and females behave aggressively in intergroup encounters. They are very territorial, using calling and aggression (if needed). Females play an important role in territory defense; when they call it prompts the male to call as well.

Among cercopithecines, forest guenons such as Wolf's mona monkey have very developed cheek pouches. These cheek pouches are second only to macaques. The evolution of these cheek pouches in both genera may be a response to the increased potential for interspecific competition in the mixed-species associations which these monkeys frequently form. [8]


Wolf's mona monkey is known to associate with several guenon and non-guenon species such as the black crested mangabey, the red-tailed monkey, the Angola colobus, Allen's swamp monkey, and the bonobo. No viable offspring or interspecific mating occurs during its associations with other primates.

In one study, Wolf's mona monkeys were found associating with Bonobos within 20 metres for an average time of 20 minutes (although sometimes for over an hour). These interactions were mainly initiated by, and departed by, the guenons; this indicates that the guenons most benefited from these associations. Although the common chimpanzee is known to hunt sympatric primates, this is not the case with the Bonobo. No aggressive interactions occurred during the study period. The red-tailed monkey (C. ascanius) was also found to associate with Bonobos, and on five occasions the association was initiated by a mixed group of guenons (C. ascanius and C. wolfi). When a mixed group was involved in the association, it always lasted for over an hour. Interactions occurred once every seven hours. Associations mainly occurred while the bonobos were feeding or resting. Wolf's mona monkey was found to feed in the trees while the bonobo fed or rested. [9]

Hohmann and Surbeck published in 2008 that Bonobos sometimes do hunt monkey species. Having observed a group of bonobos in Salonga National Park for five years they witnessed five incidents where bonobos preyed on groups of monkeys. Their research indicates it was deliberate hunting, where a group of bonobos would coordinate their actions—contrary to their normal hunting behaviour, which is quite solitary and less purposeful. In three occasions the hunt was successful and infant monkeys were captured, once a redtail monkey and twice a Cercopithecus wolfi. The spoils, however, were distributed quite peacefully among the members of the group.[17][18]

When forming associations with other primates it is necessary that there is a difference in diet or feeding height between the species to reduce competition. When in a mixed group, Wolf's mona monkey will move and forage at a mean height of 17 metres. Wolf's mona monkey is mainly found in association with the red-tailed monkey (which forages at 12 m) and the black crested mangabey (which forages at 21.5 m), two species with similar diets to Wolf's mona monkey. These mixed groups most likely form for predator detection. [7]

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.

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.

Blue monkey Species of Old World monkey

The blue monkey or diademed monkey is a species of Old World monkey 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.

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.

Cercopithecinae Subfamily of Old World monkeys

The Cercopithecinae are a subfamily of the Old World monkeys, which comprises roughly 71 species, including the baboons, the macaques, and the vervet monkeys. Most cercopithecine monkeys are limited to sub-Saharan Africa, although the macaques range from the far eastern parts of Asia through northern Africa, as well as on Gibraltar.

Celebes crested macaque Species of Old World monkey

The Celebes crested macaque, also known as the crested black macaque, Sulawesi crested macaque, or the black ape, is an Old World monkey that lives in the Tangkoko reserve in the northeastern tip of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi (Celebes), as well as on smaller neighboring islands.

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.

Mona monkey Species of Old World monkey

The mona monkey is an Old World monkey that lives in western Africa between Ghana and Cameroon. The mona monkey can also be found on the island of Grenada as it was transported to the island aboard slave ships headed to the New World during the 18th century. This guenon lives in groups of up to thirty-five in forests. It mainly feeds on fruit, but sometimes eats insects and leaves. The mona monkey has brown agouti fur with a white rump. Its tail and legs are black and the face is blue-grey with a dark stripe across the face. The mona monkey carries food in cheek pouches.

Campbells mona monkey Species of Old World monkey

Campbell's mona monkey, also known as Campbell's guenon and Campbell's monkey is a species of primate in the family Cercopithecidae found in the Ivory Coast, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Senegal, and Sierra Leone. It was named for Henry Dundas Campbell, in 1838. Lowe's mona monkey was previously considered a subspecies of Campbell's mona monkey. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has rated this species as being a near-threatened species because it has a wide range and is able to adapt to degraded habitats.

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.

Sexual dimorphism in non-human primates

Sexual dimorphism describes the morphological, physiological, and behavioral differences between males and females of the same species. Most primates are sexually dimorphic for different biological characteristics, such as body size, canine tooth size, craniofacial structure, skeletal dimensions, pelage color and markings, and vocalization. However, such sex differences are primarily limited to the anthropoid primates; most of the strepsirrhine primates and tarsiers are monomorphic.

Osman Hills mangabey Species of Old World monkey

The Osman Hill's mangabey, also known as the rusty-mantled mangabey, is a species of crested mangabey in the family Cercopithecidae with a restricted distribution in West Africa.

Central Congolian lowland forests

The Central Congolian lowland forests are an ecoregion within the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This is a remote, inaccessible area of low-lying dense wet forest, undergrowth and swamp in the Cuvette Centrale region of the Congo Basin south of the arc of the River Congo.

Eastern Congolian swamp forests

The Eastern Congolian swamp forests are a fairly intact but underresearched ecoregion of the tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests biome. It is located within the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This is the eastern half of one of the largest areas of swamps in the world.

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.

Lomami National Park

Lomami National Park is a national park located in the Democratic Republic of Congo in Central Africa. Situated within the middle basin of the Lomami River, it straddles the Provinces of Tshopo and Maniema with a slight overlap into the forests of the Tshuapa and Lualaba river basins. The National Park was formally declared on 7 July 2016. It is the 9th national park in the country and the first to be created since 1992.


  1. 1 2 3 4 Groves, C. P. (2005). Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 158. ISBN   0-801-88221-4. OCLC   62265494.
  2. Oates, J. F.; Hart, J. & Groves, C. P. (2008). "Cercopithecus pogonias ssp. wolfi". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species . 2008. Retrieved 4 January 2009.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  3. Meyer, AB (1890). "Cercopithecus wolfi, n. sp". Notes from the Leyden Museum. 13: 63–64.
  4. Meyer, AB (1894). "Remarks on an African Monkey, Cercopithecus wolfi". Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London: 83–84.
  5. Grubb, P.; et al. (2003). "Assessment of the Diversity of African Primates". International Journal of Primatology. 24 (6): 1301–1357. doi:10.1023/B:IJOP.0000005994.86792.b9. S2CID   24110272.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Groves, C. P. (2001). Primate Taxonomy. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press.
  7. 1 2 Mate, C.; et al. (1995). "Preliminary observations on the ecology of forest cercopithecidae in the Lokofe-Ikomaloki Region (Ikela, Zaire)". Folia Primatologica. 64 (4): 196–200. doi:10.1159/000156853.
  8. Buzzard, Paul J. (2006). "Cheek pouch use in relation to interspecific competition and predator risk for three guenon monkeys (Cercopithecus spp.)". Primates. 47 (4): 336–341. doi:10.1007/s10329-006-0188-6. PMID   16645704. S2CID   8230622.
  9. Ihobe, H. (1997). "Non-antagonistic Relations Between Wild Bonobos and Two Species of Guenons". Primates. 38 (4): 351–357. doi:10.1007/BF02381876. S2CID   10715780.