Agile Mangabey, Cercocebus agilis

The Agile Mangabey (Cercocebus agilis) is an Old World monkey of the White-Eyelid Mangabey group located in swampy forests of Central Africa in Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, and DR Congo. Until the year 1978, it was considered a subspecies of the Tana River Mangabey (C. galeritus). More recently, the Golden-Bellied Mangabey (C. chrysogaster) has been thought of as a separate species rather than a subspecies of the Agile Mangabey.

This monkey has a short and generally dull olive-grey colored pelage. The bare skin of the face and the feet is blackish. The males grow to about 20 to 26 inches long and weigh roughly 15 to 29 pounds, while the smaller females are about 17 to 22 inches and weigh roughly 11 to 15 pounds.

Much like other mangabeys, they are diurnal. Although they are generally arboreal, they do spend a lot of time on the ground, particularly during the dry season. It is usually more commonly heard than seen, and the males have a loud, species-specific call that is believed to be used to space themselves out. Other calls are also used to maintain group cohesion and to warn off any predators. The size of the group can be as high as 18 individuals, led by a single adult male. Group meetings can be friends and might involve exchange of members. The adult males not in groups frequently travel by themselves.

Fruit makes up a large portion of their diet. They are known to consume at least 42 different species of fruit. Their tooth structure and powerful jaws permits them to open tough pods and fruits that many other monkeys cannot access. These monkeys eat from numerous dominant swamp-forest trees, including sugar plums and dika nuts, when they are fruiting. They also consume fresh leaf shoots from raffia palms when fruit is rare. Mushrooms and grasses, in addition to insects, other invertebrates, bird’s eggs, and some vertebrate prey, such as rodents, are eaten as well.

Image Caption: « Cercocebus hagenbecki » = Cercocebus agilis hagenbecki. Credit: Joseph Smit/Wikipedia