A Diverse Group
This is a Campbell’s guenon. It is just one species in the diverse group of African monkeys called guenons. Guenons are characterized by their long tails and large cheek pouches, which they use to carry food that they gather in the canopy.
As Clever Monkeys shows, guenons are often found sharing a patch of forest with other monkey species. This spot-nosed guenon, for example, could be found hanging out with red colobus monkeys, sooty mangabeys, and Diana monkeys.
Living in interspecies groups like this is believed to improve all of the monkey’s chances at survival. All monkeys in the group will watch out for predators -- and they even understand each other’s alarm calls.
Found in forest canopies of western Africa, Diana monkeys are among the most linguistically sophisticated monkey species. As seen in Clever Monkeys, Diana monkeys are highly skilled at understanding complex strings of calls made by other monkeys.
Cooperation in the Canopy
While each monkey species has its own system of calls, interspecies groups of monkeys will often behave as one troop. They will move together, and share the responsibility of looking out for predators.
When a red colobus spots a snake, it will give the red colobus call for “snake.” Other monkeys in the area, like this mustached monkey, will react immediately. The mustached monkey is remarkably agile, able to leap up to 65 feet if it needs to make a quick escape.
Despite their remarkably adaptive behavior, many guenon species are threatened by habitat encroachment and human conflict. The owl-faced guenon, which lives in the Congo, is listed as vulnerable -- a situation that has been exacerbated by the fact that its entire geographic range is in an area of violent social and political conflict.