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Sunday, 7 August 2011

The World´s Largest And Most Distinctive Monkey

The Mandrill (Mandrillus sphinx) is not only the world’s largest species of monkey, but it is also one of the most distinctive due to its unusual bright blue and red colored face and its multicolored rear end. No other mammal on the planet possesses such an extraordinary coloration! The male Mandrill (above image) is much more colorful than the female Mandill (below image), particularly when he becomes exited. This outstanding species can be found in southern Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, and Congo, inhabiting rainforests and sub-tropical forests, from flat plateaus to mountainous terrain.

Mandrills live in large groups which consists of a dominant male (huge and vividly colored), and a dozen or more females along with their young. At times groups come together to form troops, and travel in enormous aggregations of more than 100 individuals. Most adult males that do not lead a group are solitary animals. Females give birth to one offspring every 18 months or so. The infant clings to her belly, and when it is heavier, it rides on her back.

The Mandrill has an omnivorous diet. It generally feeds on fruit, roots, insects, and small reptiles and amphibians. Mandrills are in general diurnal, ground-dwelling primates, with activities beginning at dawn and continuing until dusk. At night they sleep in trees.

The Mandrill is considered Vulnerable. The most immediate threat is posed by hunting for the Mandrills meat (which is highly prized in Gabon). However, the species is also affected by habitat loss and degradation from agriculture, logging, and human settlements. Then again, there have been captive-breed individuals that have been successfully re-introduced into the wild.

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