Sooty Mangabey (Cercocebus atys)
The molars of this species are long and the incisors are very large (Fleagle, 1988). The sooty mangabey has long limbs and a long tail (Fleagle, 1988). The average body mass for this species is 8.5 kilograms (Rowe, 1996).
The sooty mangabey is from Sierra Leone to Ghana (Rowe, 1996). This species lives in both primary and secondary forests and in flooded, dry, swamp, mangrove, and gallery forests (Rowe, 1996).
The sooty mangabey primarily feeds on fruits and seeds, but also eats animal prey. This species is arboreal and diurnal. Group sizes for this species can be up to 95 individuals (Rowe, 1996).
The sooty mangabey moves through the forest in a quadrupedal manner (Fleagle, 1988).
In the sooty mangabey the males disperse from their natal groups and the females are philopatric. Females of this species form a linear hierarchy. The main core of the group is the adult females and the offspring. The social system of this species is either single male or multimale (Fleagle, 1988). The sooty mangabey forages in small groups that split off from the larger main group. Social grooming does occur, but the receiver usually never reciprocates and mothers only groom juvenile and not infant offspring (Estes, 1991). Infanticide has bee recorded for this species (Rowe, 1996).
loud call: This call is used by the sooty mangabey to maintain distances between groups in the dense foliage of the forests.
Whoop-gobble: This call serves to communicate spacing and is only used by sexually mature males. This call may be heard for a distance of up to 1 kilometer. The call may be broken down into the whoop which communicates other group members to take notice, and the gobble which functions to give the location of the caller and his identity.
chuckle: This sound functions as an alarm call in the sooty mangabey, and is uttered rapidly in a long series and is a high-frequency call (Estes, 1991).
progression calls: This call consists of nasal grunts that have a short range, and they are emitted by group members to no specific receiver when the group starts to move (Estes, 1991). Usually adult males do not emit these calls, and the calls tend also to communicate who is giving the call because there some individual variation amongst callers (Estes, 1991).
greeting grunts: These grunts are emitted by males when juveniles approach them; it is used to reassure them (Estes, 1991).
genital-sniffing: This is when a male sooty mangabey sniffs the female in response to her presenting to him; he is checking whether the female is in estrus or not (Estes, 1991).
staring: This display by the sooty mangabey is used as a threat display (Estes, 1991). The eyes are fixed on the stimulus and the eyebrows are raised and the scalp is retracted, the facial skin is also stretched by moving the ears back (Estes, 1991). Underneath the eye lids the color is different which contrasts sharply with the surrounding facial color (Estes, 1991)>
staring with open mouth: This is the stare accompanied by the mouth being open but the teeth are covered (Estes, 1991). This is a threat expression and often occurs with head-bobbing (Estes, 1991).
head-bobbing: This is used as a threat display by the sooty mangabey and head bobs up and down (Estes, 1991). This often occurs with staring with open mouth (Estes, 1991).
pouting: This visual display is given by the females and communicates sexual receptivity (Estes, 1991). This is when the lips are protruded forward (Estes, 1991).
social presenting: This is when a nonestrus individual presents the anogenital region to another (Estes, 1991). This display is most often used to appease aggression (Davis, 1964); it is used by a subordinate towards a more dominant individual in the group (Estes, 1991).
mounting: Apart from a sexual context, this is used most often by a dominant individual towards a subordinate, and occurs between members of the same sex (Estes, 1991).
The sooty mangabey gives birth to a single offspring.
Burton, F. 1995. The Multimedia Guide to the Non-human Primates. Prentice-Hall Canada Inc.
Davis, D.E. 1964. The Physiological Analysis of Aggressive Behavior. In Social Behavior and Organisation Among Vertebrates. Ed. W. Etkin. University of Chicago Press.
Estes, R.D. 1991. The Behavior Guide to African Mammals. University of California Press.
Fleagle, J. G. 1988. Primate Adaptation and Evolution. Academic Press.
Rowe, N. 1996. The Pictorial Guide to the Living Primates. Pogonias Press: East Hampton, New York.
Last Updated: June 17, 2007.
[Primate Fact Sheets]