Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Golden-mantled Howler Monkey

A Golden-mantled Howler Monkey watched as our boat headed up the Rio Tarcoles on 4 July. At first glance, this primate may not seem too pleased with our intrusion. This impression may not be accurate. This species of howler, found from Mexico to the western coasts of Colombia and Ecador, eats more leaves than others (up to just more than 50% of its diet). Leaves are hard to digest, resulting in the monkey’s spending most of their days resting and sleeping.

Golden-mantled Howler Monkeys have a wide variety of sounds, but are most famous for their howls. They sound almost like a low, loud, but distant wind. They can be heard for several kilometers. The sounds are amplified by the monkeys’ hollow hyoid bone, which is near the vocal cords. The calls allow the monkey’s to maintain their sedentary life style. The sounds also allow monkeys to locate each other without risking aggressive confrontations (Wikipedia). This source also reports, “the mantled howler is usually indifferent to the presence of humans. However, when it is disturbed by people, it often express its irritation by urinating or defecating on them. It can accurately hit its observers despite being high in the trees.”

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