Ursine colobus

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Ursine colobus[1]
Descent of Man Appleton 1875 Fig 076.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Suborder: Haplorhini
Infraorder: Simiiformes
Family: Cercopithecidae
Genus: Colobus
C. vellerosus
Binomial name
Colobus vellerosus
(I. Geoffroy, 1834)
Colobus vellerosus distribution.svg
Geographic range

The ursine colobus (Colobus vellerosus, white-thighed colobus, Geoffroy's black-and-white colobus, white-thighed black-and-white colobus[2]) is a species of primate in the family Cercopithecidae.


The ursine colobus is quite distinctive, with predominantly black fur and lacking a white mantle. They have a black and naked face which is surrounded by a thick white halo of fur. The ursine colobus is further characterized by white patches on the thighs which vary in width and length. Like other species of colobus, the babies are born with an all white fur coat, which starts to turn black at around three months of age. In contrast to other species of colobus, they have slender bodies and ischial callosities, a hard thickened area of skin on the buttocks that allows comfortable sitting on branches. It has an all white tail which is longer than the body. They weight between 9.9 to 10.3 kg (22 to 23 lb) for males and 8.3 to 8.7 kg (18 to 19 lb) in females with a body length of is 61 to 66 cm (24 to 26 in) in males and 61 to 64 cm (24 to 25 in) in females.[3]


Ursine colobus are diurnal and highly arboreal, coming down from trees only occasionally when feeding. Their social behavior is like that of many polygynous monkeys, with each group consisting of related females their juvenile offspring and a territorial male. The males are highly territorial and disperse upon reaching sexual maturity.[3]

Ursine colobus use a roaring call to advertise territory and location, this roar is a low "rur, rur, rur" noise. They also have alarm calls that alert group members when predators have been seen which are a "snorting" sound, made by all members of the group except infants.[3]

Ursine colobus are mainly vegetarian and have a diet which is made up of new leaves and seeds, with the occasional addition of fruits, insects, and termite clay.[3]


Ursine colobuses are found in lowland rainforest and in gallery forests which extend northwards into the Guinea Forest Savannah Zone. In Bénin, these monkeys were observed in several habitats, including swamp forests, semi-deciduous forests and gallery forests.[2]


It is found in Benin, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, and Togo, as well as very southernmost Burkina Faso.[4] Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests. It is threatened by habitat loss.[2]


The ursine colobus is threatened by both hunting and deforestation. Its range falls within a region which includes a dense and rapidly growing human population, where forest destruction has been extensive, and there is uncontrolled hunting of wildlife in many places. However, in some parts of their range these monkeys are held to be sacred. It is listed as Class A under the African Convention, and under Appendix II of CITES. They are known to live within a number of protected areas including Comoe National Park, Fazao-Malfakassa National Park and Mole, Bui and Digya National Parks (Ghana).[2]


The ursine colobus was formerly thought to be a subspecies of Colobus polykomos with which it interbred;[5] however, it has since been recognized as a separate species.[6][7]


  1. ^ Groves, C.P. (2005). Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M., eds. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 168. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. OCLC 62265494.
  2. ^ a b c d e Oates, J. F.; Gippoliti, S. & Groves, C. P. (2008). "Colobus vellerosus". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2008: e.T5146A11117385. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T5146A11117385.en. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d "Colobus vellerosus: ursine colobus". Regents of the University of Michigan. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  4. ^ Detailed range map at "Range map: Colobus vellerosus" 10 January 2008, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
  5. ^ Groves, Colin P.; Angst, R. and Westwood, C. (1993) "The Status of Colobus polykomos dollmani" International Journal of Primatology 14: pp. 573–586
  6. ^ Oates, J. F. and Trocco, T. F. (1983) "Taxonomy and phylogeny of black-and-white colobus monkeys: inferences from an analysis of loud call variation" Folia Primatologica 40: pp. 83–113
  7. ^ "Combining this information [on loud calls] with data on cranial morphology (e.g. Hull, 1979) and pelage (e.g. Rahm, 1970), Oates and Trocco, (1983) concluded that the bIack-and-white colobus monkeys are best regarded as belonging to five species: Colobus polykomos (Zimmerman, 1780); C. vellerosus (Geoffroy, 1831); C. guereza (Ruppell, 1835); C. satanas (Waterhouse, 1838); and C. angolensis (Sclater, 1860). Oates and Trocco (1983) also concluded that C. salanas retains more primitive features than other members of the group. and that C. guereza and C. vellerosus, in their low-frequency loud call and other features, are the most derived species." page 432 of Oates, John F.; Bocian, C. M. and Terranova, C. J. (2000) "The loud calls of black-and-white colobus monkeys: their adaptive and taxonomic significance in light of new data" doi:10.1017/CBO9780511542589.017, In Whitehead, Paul F. Jolly, Clifford J. (2000) Old World Monkeys Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England, pp. 431–452, ISBN 978-0-521-02809-7

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