Mexican howler

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Mexican howler
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Suborder: Haplorhini
Infraorder: Simiiformes
Family: Atelidae
Genus: Alouatta
Species: A. palliata
Subspecies: A. p. mexicana
Trinomial name
Alouatta palliata mexicana
Merriam, 1902

The Mexican howler (Alouatta palliata mexicana) is a subspecies of the mantled howler, A. palliata. This subspecies is found predominantly in forests between south eastern Mexico and north eastern Peru.[3] Typical of its species, the Mexican howler monkey has a prehensile tail, a deep jaw, and a large pharynx which it uses to make characteristically deep and resonating howls.[4]


Characteristic of manteled howler monkeys, the Mexican howler monkey has a prehensile tail, a deepset jaw with small incisors and large canines, and a large vocal box to make deep howls. Mantled howler monkeys are known for forming unusually large cohorts averaging 14 members and sometimes extending to 40 members.[4]



There are five subspecies of the A. palliata which are Alouatta palliata aequatorialis, Alouatta palliata coibensis, Alouatta palliata palliata, Alouatta palliata trabeata and Alouatta palliata mexicana.[5] Compared with members of the howler monkey genus, the Mexican howler is sympatric with the Guatemalan black howler, A. pigra, in Tabasco, Mexico.[6] The Mexican howler differs from the golden-mantled howler, A. palliata palliata, primarily in aspects of skull morphology, and in some differences in pelage.[6] The golden-mantled howler's range includes parts of Guatemala and Honduras, and it is not clear if the Mexican and golden-mantled howler's ranges currently are in contact.[6]


The Mexican howler monkey is primarily located between south eastern Mexico and north eastern Peru.[7] As of 2008, this subspecies was determined to be critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.[1][2] due to the loss of its natural habitat as a result of deforestation.[8] It is now located only in patches of forestry within these regions because loss of habitat has been so extensive.[9]


The Mexican howler can eat a remarkable variety of foods including leaves, flower, buds, petioles, and fruits. This subspecies of howler monkey is known to be a frugivore[10] and a behavioural folivores. Their digestive system is slow and they have significantly fewer enzymes for protein and fiber digestion than other frugivores, but they compensate for this by selectively eating leaves with less fiber.[3] Consequently, much of this the Mexican howler monkey's activity is dedicated for foraging for fruit and young leaves which it can easily digest.[7] Frugivory is typically observed in New World monkeys instead of Old World monkeys, but howler monkeys are an exception to this categorization.[11]


This howler monkey species has compensated for its adapted digestive system by minimizing energy output as much as possible. The Mexican howler exhinbits limited interaction with members of its species and very minor aggressive behavior.[12] There is evidence of physical aggression between members of the species during migratory periods or changes in dominance.[13] Males, when fighting for dominance, have been observed to target juveniles, sometimes even killing them, and physically injuring older males. For a younger male to take control of a group, he must first kill the dominant male, exhibiting extensive aggression.[14] Females also show aggression when asserting dominance, though this is usually limited to harassment behavior like hair pulling and biting.[15]


  1. ^ a b "Critically Endangered Primates". Archived from the original on 2008-07-27. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  2. ^ a b Cuarón, A.D.; Shedden, A.; Rodríguez-Luna, E.; de Grammont, P.C. & Link, A. (2008). "Alouatta palliata ssp. mexicana". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 19 January 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Espinosa-Gómez, Fabiola; Gómez-Rosales, Sergio; Wallis, Ian R.; Canales-Espinosa, Domingo; Hernández-Salazar, Laura (2013). "Digestive strategies and food choice in mantled howler monkeys Alouatta palliata mexicana: bases of their dietary flexibility". Journal of Comparative Physiology B. 183 (8): 1089–1100. doi:10.1007/s00360-013-0769-9. ISSN 0174-1578. 
  4. ^ a b Cuarón, A.D., Shedden, A., Rodríguez-Luna, E., de Grammont, P.C., Link, A., Palacios, E., Morales, A. & Cortés-Ortiz, L. 2008. Alouatta palliata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 09 December 2014.
  5. ^ Cuarón, A.D., Shedden, A., Rodríguez-Luna, E., de Grammont, P.C., Link, A., Palacios, E., Morales, A. & Cortés-Ortiz, L. 2008. Alouatta palliata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 9 December 2014.
  6. ^ a b c Rylands; Groves; Mittermeier; Cortes-Ortiz & Hines (2006). "Taxonomy and Distributions of Mesoamerican Primates". In Estrada, A.; Garber, P.A.; Pavelka, M.S.M. & Luecke, L. New Perspectives in the Study of Mesoamerican Primates. pp. 50–51. ISBN 978-0-387-25854-6. 
  7. ^ a b Estrada, A., Juan-Solano, S., Ortiz M.T., Coates-Estrada, R., 1999, Feeding and general activity patterns of a howler monkey (Alouatta palliata) troop living in a forest fragment at Los Tuxtlas, Mexico. American Journal of Primatology, 48(3) 167-83.
  8. ^ Van Belle S, Estrada A, 2006. Demographic features of Alouatta pigra populations in extensive and fragmented forests. In: Estrada A, Garber PA, Pavelka M, Luecke L ed. New Perspec- tives in the Study of Mesoamerican Primates: Distribution, Ecology and Conservation. USA: Springer, 121–142.
  9. ^ Arroyo-Rodríguez, V., Mandujano, S., Benítez-Malvido, J., 2008, Landscape attributes affecting patch occupancy by howler monkeys (Alouattapalliata mexicana) at Los Tuxtlas, Mexico. American Journal of Primatology. Vol. 70 (1), pp. 69-77.
  10. ^ Urquiza-Haas, Tania; Serio-Silva, Juan Carlos; Hernández-Salazar, Laura Teresa (2008). "Traditional nutritional analyses of figs overestimates intake of most nutrient fractions: a study ofFicus perforata consumed by howler monkeys (Alouatta palliata mexicana)". American Journal of Primatology. 70 (5): 432–438. doi:10.1002/ajp.20510. ISSN 0275-2565. 
  11. ^ Can phenology explain the scarcity of folivory in New World primates? Heymann EW. in the American Journal of Primatology; November 2001
  12. ^ Klein, L. L. (1974). Agonistic behavior in neotropical primates. In Holloway, R. L. (ed.), Primate Aggression, Territoriality, and Xenophobia, Academic Press, New York, pp. 77–122.
  13. ^ Cristóbal-Azkarate, J, Dias, P, & Veà, J 2004, 'Causes of Intraspecific Aggression in Alouatta palliata mexicana: Evidence from Injuries, Demography, and Habitat', International Journal of Primatology, 25, 4, pp. 939-953, Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost, viewed 7 December 2014
  14. ^ Glander, K. E. (1980). Reproduction and population growth in free-ranging mantled howling monkeys. Am. J. Physical Anthropol. 53: 25–36.
  15. ^ Glander, K. E. (1992). Dispersal patterns in Costa Rican mantled howling monkeys. Int. J. Primatol. 13: 415–436.