Diana monkey

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Diana monkey[1]
Cercopithecus diana.jpg
Diana monkey at the Cincinnati Zoo
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Suborder: Haplorhini
Infraorder: Simiiformes
Family: Cercopithecidae
Genus: Cercopithecus
C. diana
Binomial name
Cercopithecus diana
Cercopithecus diana distribution.svg
Combined geographic range of Diana monkey (western half) and roloway monkey (eastern half)
  • Simia diana Linnaeus, 1758
  • Simia faunus Linnaeus, 1758

The Diana monkey (Cercopithecus diana) is an Old World monkey found in West Africa, from Sierra Leone to Côte d'Ivoire.

The Diana monkey ranges from 40 to 55 cm in length, excluding its tail, which is of a uniform 3–4 cm diameter and 50–75 cm long. Adults weigh between 4–7 kg. Individual Diana monkeys may live for up to 20 years.

They are generally black or dark grey, but have a white throat, crescent-shaped browband, ruff and beard; the browband gave the species its common name, since it was held to resemble the crescent on the brow of the goddess Diana. The monkeys' underarms are also white, and they have a white stripe down their thighs, while the backs of their thighs, and their lower backs, are a chestnut colour. Apart from the browband, ruff and beard, and some fringes on their limbs, their fur is rough and tough.

Like most primates, Diana monkeys can always carry diseases that can be communicated to humans, like yellow fever and tuberculosis, but they are not important carriers of these. The species is regarded as vulnerable by the IUCN as well as by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the chief dangers to them being habitat destruction (they are now virtually confined to coastal areas) and hunting for bushmeat.

Two taxa formerly considered subspecies of the Diana monkey have recently been elevated to full species status: the roloway monkey (C. roloway) is found in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana, and the Dryas monkey (C. dryas) found in the DR Congo.

Habitat, behavior, and reproduction[edit]

The Diana monkey is found in the primary forests, and does not thrive in secondary forests. It is active during the day. It feeds at all levels of the canopy, and rarely comes down to the ground. Diana monkeys retreat to the upper levels of the trees at night, though they do not make nests. They feed mainly on fruit and insects, but also take flowers, young leaves, and invertebrates, and are in turn preyed on by the crowned hawk-eagle, the leopard, the common chimpanzee, and humans.

The Diana monkey is a noisy presence in the forest. Its marked coloration allows a wide range of visual social signals, and it also has a wide range of alarm calls, with different sounds for different predators. Other forest residents such as the yellow-casqued hornbill are able to discriminate these and take appropriate action.[5]

Groups consist of a single male with a number of reproducing females and their infants. In good conditions, adult females reproduce annually. Gestation lasts about 5 months, and the young nurse for a further 6 months. Normally, only a single infant is born. Although the young are born in a fairly well-developed condition, with open eyes and able to grasp their mothers, at least in zoo conditions, Diana monkey mothers appear anxious and possessive, rarely letting young infants leave them. As infants grow, however, they become very playful. Juveniles reach sexual maturity at an age of about 3 years. Daughters remain in their mothers' social groups, while males leave their natal groups shortly before attaining sexual maturity.



  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. 155. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. OCLC 62265494.
  2. ^ Oates, J. F.; Gippoliti, S. & Groves, C. P. (2008). "Cercopithecus diana". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 4 January 2009.
  3. ^ Linnaeus, Carl von (1758). Systema naturæ. Regnum animale (10th ed.). pp. 26–27. Retrieved 19 November 2012.
  4. ^ Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M., eds. (2005). "Cercopithecus diana". Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  5. ^ Rainey, H. J.; Zuberbühler, K.; Slater, P. J. B. (2004). "Hornbills can distinguish between primate alarm calls". Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. 271 (1540): 755–759. doi:10.1098/rspb.2003.2619. PMC 1691652. PMID 15209110.

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