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Friday, February 21, 2014

Species Fact Profile: Mandrill (Mandrillus sphinx)

Mandrillus sphinx (Linnaeus, 1758)

Range: West Central Africa
Habitat: Rainforest, Forest-Savannah Mosaic
Diet: Fruit, Seeds, Fungi, Eggs, Small Animals
Social Grouping: Troops of Hundreds
Reproduction: Harem breeders, breed July through October, usually single birth (twins observed in captivity) after a 6 month gestation period, females mature at 4-8 years, breed every other year
Lifespan: 46 Years (Captivity)
Conservation Status: IUCN Vulnerable, CITES Appendix I

  • The largest monkey in the world, up to 80 centimeters tall and (in rare cases) weighing up to 54 kilograms (males are twice as large as females) - large head, compact body, stubby tail held upright
  • Adult males have very colorful faces: bright red nose, bright blue sides of the muzzle, and yellow beard.  The fur of both sexes is olive green with paler underparts (Darwin wrote "no other member in the whole class of mammals is coloured in so extraordinary a manner as the adult male mandrill")
  • Days are spent foraging on the forest floor, nights in the shelter of trees for safety
  • The populations on the opposite sides of the Ogooue River may be different subspecies
  • Will occasionally take medium-sized vertebrate prey, such as porcupines, tortoises, and small antelope; prey is killed with a bite to the nape of the neck (the canine teeth may measure 6 centimeters long)
  • The leopard is the only major predator of adults, though juveniles may be preyed upon by crowned eagles or rock pythons
  • The social structure consists of bands of up to 40 animals, which congregate into large, stable groups of hundreds; one such congregation contains 1,300 mandrills, making it the largest gathering on nonhuman-primates ever recorded
  • Both captive and wild mandrills have been observed using tools, such as sticks to groom themselves
  • The species has declined due to hunting for the bushmeat trade (the large, noisy troops are easy for hunters to find); they are also threatened by habitat loss

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