Western red colobus

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Western red colobus[1]
Western Red Colobus Monkey (32257813804).jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Suborder: Haplorhini
Infraorder: Simiiformes
Family: Cercopithecidae
Genus: Piliocolobus
P. badius
Binomial name
Piliocolobus badius
(Kerr, 1792)
Western Red Colobus area.png
Western Red Colobus range
(green — extant, orange — possibly extinct)

The western red colobus (Piliocolobus badius), also known as the bay red colobus, rust red colobus or Upper Guinea red colobus, is a species of Old World monkey in West African forests from Senegal to Ghana.[1] All other species of red colobuses have formerly been considered subspecies of P. badius. It is often hunted by the common chimpanzee. In 1994, western red colobus monkeys infected many chimpanzees with Ebola virus when the chimpanzees hunted the monkeys as prey.[3]


According to Groves (2005) the Western red colobus has three subspecies, including the nominate:[1]

P. b. waldronae is critically endangered, possibly even extinct. The other two subspecies are endangered.[2] Under more recent taxonomies, these are generally considered separate species.[4] Groves concurs with this revision, although not all primatologists agree.[4][5]


The western red colobus grows to a head-and-body length of 450 to 670 mm (18 to 26 in) with a tail of 520 to 800 mm (20 to 31 in), and a weight of between 5 and 11 kg (11 and 24 lb). It has red or chestnut-brown head and limbs and black, slatey-grey or dark brown upper parts. It does not have long fringes of hair, or tufts of hair on the tail. Compared to monkeys in the genus Colobus, the nostrils are V-shaped, the digits are long and the big toe short.[6]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The red colobus is endemic to tropical West Africa. Its range includes various fragmentary populations in Sierra Leone, and contiguous populations in Liberia, Guinea and western Ivory Coast. It is unclear exactly where the ranges of P. b. badius and P. b. temminckii meet, but P. b. badius populations are separated from P. b. waldronae by the Bandama River in Ivory Coast. The red colobus is an arboreal species, typically found in primary rainforest, but also inhabiting secondary forest and gallery forest.[2]


The red colobus lives in colonies of between twelve and eighty members. There are usually several males and up to three times this number of adult females. There is a social hierarchy, giving access to food, space and grooming.[6]


  1. ^ a b c 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. 169. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. OCLC 62265494.
  2. ^ a b c McGraw, S.; Minhós, T.; Bersacola, E.; Ferreira da Silva, M.J.; Galat, G.; Galat-Luong, A.; Gonedelé Bi, S.; Mayhew, M.; Oates, J.F.; Starin, E.D. (2020). "Piliocolobus badius". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2020: e.T161247840A161259430. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-1.RLTS.T161247840A161259430.en. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  3. ^ Ebola Cote d'Ivoire Outbreaks
  4. ^ a b Zinner, D.; Fickenscher, G.H.; Roos, C. (2013). Mittermeier, Russell A.; Rylands, Anthony B.; Wilson, Don E. (eds.). Handbook of the Mammals of the World: Volume 3, Primates. Lynx. pp. 705–706. ISBN 978-8496553897.
  5. ^ Groves, C.P. (2016). "Species concepts and conservation". In Wich, Serge A.; Marshall, Andrew J. (eds.). An Introduction to Primate Conservation. pp. 45–47. ISBN 9780198703396.
  6. ^ a b Ronald M. Nowak (1999). Walker's Primates of the World. JHU Press. pp. 38–39. ISBN 978-0-8018-6251-9.

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