Mantled colobus (Colobus guereza), eastern black-and white colobus and magistrate colobus are all Old World monkeys that are widely distributed throughout Central Africa. The range of the species extends eastward from Nigeria, east of the Niger river, the upper Donga river, and the Yabassi District of Cameroon to Equatorial Guinea, through Chad, Gabon and the Central African Republic to the Republic of Congo, through northern Democratic Republic of the Congo, southern Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda, Rwanda, and finally south into northern Tanzania.
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There are seven subspecies that have been identified, but there is some science dispute about the distinctions that each subspecies should be considered. Each subspecies is unique and has slight differences in appearance.
- Western guereza (C.g. occidentalis), is found in eastern Nigeria, Cameroon and south to Gabon. It can also be found eastward to southwestern Sudan, Uganda, and west of the Nile.
- Omo River Guereza (C.g. guereza), can be found in the forested areas in the Ethiopian highlands west of Rift Valley, as well as in lowland areas near the Omo River and the Awash River.
- Djaffa Mountains Guereza (aka Neumann's black and white colobus (C.g. gallarum) is only found in Ethiopian highlands east the Rift valley.
- Dodinga Hills Guereza (C.g. dodingae), is only found in Didinga Hills, southeastern Sudan.
- Mau forest guereza (C.g. matschiei), is found west of the Rift valley in Kenya. It lives in forestland within rift, westward to Mount Elgon (Kenya) and south to the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania.
- Mt. Uaraguess guereza (also known as Percival's black and white colobus, C. g. percivali) is the highest peak of the Matthews Range in central Kenya.
- Mt. Mt. Kenya and the Aberdare Mountain Range.
Guerezas can be found in deciduous or evergreen thicket forests. The canopy of individual trees overlaps to form a continuous, closed layer. They can be found in primary and secondary (or old-growth) forests. However, they prefer disturbed secondary forests. Scientists believe that this preference is due to secondary forests' high diversity of food tree species. Other habitats include swamp forests and wooded savannas. Scientists speculate that Guerezas may venture into agricultural land to satisfy a nutritional need.
Guereza Colobus Size, weight, and life expectancy
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Guerezas, which are strong, long-tailed monkeys, are sturdy. The males are slightly bigger than the females. The subspecies have males with larger teeth than females, but not always. Scientists believe this is a natural reaction to habitat and social dynamics.
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Males' head-to-body length is 21.4 to 27.5 inches (54.3 to 70cm), with an average of 24in (61.5 cm). The average weight ranges between 20.5 and 29.8 pounds (9.3 to 13.5 kg).
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Females' head-to-body length is 20.5 to 26.5 inches (52 and 67.3cm), with an average of 22.7 in (57.6cm). The average weight ranges between 17.8 and 9.2 lb (7.8 to 9.2 kg).
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Tail length is longer than head-to body length. This can vary depending on subspecies.
Guereza Colobus Appearance
The majority of the body of the guereza is covered by a glossy, black coat. A long, white cape (or mantle) that runs the length of the back and reaches the hips is added contrast. A gray, hairless face is highlighted by white whiskers and a full-length, white beard. It has a flat, long, wide, and deep underbite. The guereza is distinguished from its Angolan cousin, the Angolan colonibus, by its white beard. Its dark face is frame with silky white hair strands. The guereza's brown eyes might suggest that it has a pensive, pensive look (perhaps fitting for a magistrate). A plume of fluffy, white feathers is formed by a long, thin, mostly black tail.
The coats of guerezas at birth are entirely white, and they remain that way for the first few weeks in the young primates’ lives.
However, high up on the west side Mt. Sightings of all-white adult Guerezas in Kenya have been reported. However, there is no scientific explanation for albinism.
The subspecies of guerezas can be distinguished by the color of their mantles. These mantles can range from creamy white to whitish yellow. The length of the tail and the fluffiness level of the plume are two other ways to distinguish subspecies.
The guereza, like most members of the family colobus, has no thumbs. This adaptation is believed to allow for rapid movement through trees. This species does not have the cheek pouches found in many Old World monkeys.
Guerezas can rest easy on the generous pads that are placed on their rump, also known as "ischial callsosities".
Guereza Colobus Diet
Guereza colonibus monkeys are folivorous. This means that they eat lots of leaves. Hackberry leaves (a type of nettle tree), are their favorite. Unripe leaves make up a greater portion of their diet than mature leaves. Their diet includes fruits, leaves buds, bark, seeds and blossoms. Due to their geographic distribution, seasonal fluctuations and food availability, monkeys may experience fluctuations in their diet. Guerezas choose leaves that are less prone to seasonal changes to reduce the impact on their menu. Dew drops provide their daily water requirements, and they also consume rainwater collected in tree trunk hollows.
Nature designed guerezas to have a multichambered stomach, which allows them to digest large quantities of leaf. To efficiently degrade leaf cellulose, microbes in the stomach work with fluids secreted from the salivary glands of monkeys. This adaptation allows monkeys to get the nutrition they need from their leafy diet.
Guerezas are diurnal animals, which means they are active during daylight hours. However, they wake up later than other diurnal primates and leave their sleeping trees for several hours after sunrise. They then spend half of their day sleeping. They spend most of the remaining daylight hours foraging and feeding. They retire to their sleeping tree once more before sunset.
The group may occupy up to four trees nearby that provide food sources. They should avoid sleeping near other guereza groups. So that potential predators can be avoided, the monkeys sleep in pairs so that each monkey is able to look out for them. These include crowned Hawks, chimpanzees and leopards.
Guerezas are mostly arboreal and live in the trees. They glide through the canopy of the trees quadrupedally (on all 4s), jumping through gaps between trees. These monkeys can descend to the ground when trees aren't densely spaced and don't provide any arboreal passageways.
Guereza Colobus Daily Life and Group Dynamics
Guereza colonibus monkeys are social animals that live in mixed-gender, cohesive groups of 3 to 15 individuals. However, it has been reported that groups up to 23 have been observed. A group typically consists of an adult male, several adult females (reproducing), juveniles, or infants. Sometimes, there might be more than one adult male in a group. However, it is temporary and the males who aren't needed will eventually leave the group.
The leader of a group is usually the adult male. The core of a group is made up of females. They will remain in the same birth family for their entire lives, making them likely to be close friends. Females support each other with infant care and mutual grooming. Males often leave their birth groups before they are fully mature, so they can start a new group (a Harem).
Guerezas reside in well-delineated territories that cover 32-40 acres (13-162 hectares), although territories may overlap. Contacts with outside guerezas are hostile. The dominant male of a group defends its territory by using intimidation tactics such as screams and roars, flapping his white fur fringe up, jumping, chasing and even combat. Guerezas are more open to certain primate species that share their habitat, such as mangabeys and guenons. They also share the habitat without running from them. Scientists have seen infant guerezas play with infant vervet monkeys.
Guereza Colobus Communication
Guerezas are vocal creatures. Their signature sound is their roar, which is most often heard by the dominant male of the group. The roar will be returned by male guerezas of neighboring groups. Scientists believe these loud roaring sessions at night and dawn play a part in male competition. Guereza males are trying to out-roar each other. Their roars help maintain territorial distance between groups.
Other vocalizations include purrs and honks as well as snorts and screams.
Besides vocalizations, guerezas use body language to communicate. The most dramatic way to intimidate is by flapping their white fringe. Aggressive communication between groups can also be achieved through facial expressions and body postures.
Tactile communication can include grooming, fighting, and playing.
Guereza Colobus Family and reproduction
At 4 years of age, female guerezas are ready to reproduce. At 6 years, male guerezas reach maturity a bit slower than females. They make up the time difference by accepting their polygynous culture. The dominant male gets to mate with all the females in the harem. However, the female initiates sex. She signals to the male by coquettishly smacking her tongue and indicating that she is interested.
Although breeding is done all year, weaning takes place at the best time for food availability.
A single infant is born to a mother after a nearly six-month gestation. Every member of a group pays attention to the newborn, especially the females. A phenomenon called "infant transmission" is when several females carry the infant up to 82 feet (25m) away from their mother. One mother may care for an infant from another woman while allowing her child to be cared for. Every 20 months, females give birth.
Through her first 20 weeks, an infant will cling to her mother's breasts. She then begins to become more independent. She no longer clings tightly to her mother after one year. Mothers and daughters form lifelong bonds because females stay with their birth family.
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