Green Monkey, Chlorocebus sabaeus

The green monkey (Chlorocebus sabaeus), an Old World monkey, is also commonly known as the Callithrix monkey. It is thought by some that members of the genus Chlorocebus are actually one widespread species, known as Cercopithecus aethiops. This sole species has also been named the green monkey, creating confusion in distinguishing Chlorocebus sabaeus as the green monkey.

The range of the green monkey extends from West Africa and Senegal to the Volta River, and these monkeys have also been introduced to the Cape Verde Islands (off northwest Africa), West Indian Islands, Nevis, Barbados, Saint Kitts, and Saint Martin. The green monkey will inhabit forested areas including the edges of rainforests and dry Sahel woodlands. This monkey has also been found in coastal areas.

The green monkey has fur that is a creamy gold-green color, with lightly colored hands and a yellowish tail-tip. The cheek fur and the backs of the thighs are also yellowish in color, and males have blue scrotums. These monkeys do not typically have the band of fur on the brow, like other members of the Chlorocebus genus.  Males are usually larger than females, with an average weight that varies between 8.6 and eighteen pounds and an average height between 1.38 and two feet. Females can weigh between 7.5 and twelve pounds and have an average height of up to 1.6 feet.

The green monkey is a social creature, much like other members of its genus, and can often be found in groups between seven to eighty monkeys. Evidence including grooming styles and gender relationships show that there is a definite hierarchy within each group. The diet of this monkey includes fruits and invertebrates, and in coastal areas, green monkeys will eat food such as crabs.

The alpha male is in control of the green monkey’s polygynous group, regulating social interactions and breeding. Breeding season occurs from April to June, the rainy months in this monkey’s range. Fruit is abundant during this time, so it is thought that breeding coincides with food resources. Green monkeys will breed once a year. Females are ready to mate at two years of age, while males can mate at five years of age. Babies are well taken care of until the age of one year old, when they will be weaned and are ready to become adults. Given the rate of infant mortality, a high fifty-seven percent, it is a surprise that the status of the green monkey is of least concern.

Image Caption: A Green monkey / Callithrix monkey in Bijilo Forest Park in The Gambia. Credit:
Bjørn Christian Tørrissen/Wikipedia(CC BY-SA 3.0)

Green Monkey Chlorocebus sabaeus

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