Patas monkeys are also known as Erythrocebus patas. They are known for their long limbs. Further, they are predominantly ground-dwelling primate, can widely encounter from the grass and scrub regions of West and Central Africa and southeast to the Serengeti plains.
The adult male patas monkeys have shaggy fur set off with a white moustache and underparts of the body. They also have greyhound around their head. The adult females have some similar pattern as adult male monkeys, but they have less striking pattern and nature of the build. The body of the red patas monkeys is about 50 - 70 cm long and the tails of the monkeys are also in the same length. On average, the male Erythrocebus monkeys have an average weight of about 12.5 kg. But the female Erythrocebus monkeys can grow only up to only 6.5 kg. This patas monkey diet is omnivorous. As the patas monkeys use all their four feet for walking and running they are known as quadrupedal animal.
In general, the patas monkeys lives in troops, each troop consist of a single male and around half dozens of females with their baby patas monkeys. Here, the dominant female monkey in the troop lead others, the male monkey in the troop remains peripheral. The male monkeys in the troop make him conspicuous and attract the predator targeting the group like cheetah and run off at a high speed and bring the predator away from the other female and baby patas monkeys in the troop. Meanwhile, the female and baby patas monkey will hide them in the nearby long grass to save their lives.
Further, the young male bachelor monkeys in the troop constantly try to invade female in the troop for breeding and make with them or oust the troop male. The gestation period of red patas monkeys is estimated to about five to six months. Usually, the single birth of patas monkey occurs during the wet season after their gestation period. The baby patas monkeys can develop quickly. The female monkeys take three years to attain maturity and the male monkeys take four years to attain maturity. So, only a short span of immaturity can observe from the many small monkeys. The patas monkeys are the world’s old monkey. They are related to the family Cercopithecidae and related to guenons. The patas monkeys are also known as dancing red monkey or red guenon or hussar monkeys or military monkeys because of patas monkey habitat with their colour, white facial marks.
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Taxonomical Classification of Patas Monkey
The above table shows the clear taxonomical classification of patas monkeys.
Characteristics of Patas Monkey
Patas Monkey Habitat
Patas monkeys inhabit open countries. The patas monkeys are found only in Africa and they are also widely distributed across subSaharan Africa from the western tip of Senegal to East Africa. Patas monkeys are also spread over the south of Africa to Cameroon. They mainly live in savanna and woodland habitats as they are predominantly spread over in terrestrial habitats. The red patas can tolerate some arid conditions so they can encounter close to the southern edge of the Sahara deserts. But there are some exceptions for few species. Some individuals are suitable for moist woodland. As deforestation and man-made forest clearings are is high in these regions, the patas monkeys are invading the living habitat of human beings. The patas monkeys can also encounter in the zones of flooding in the delta of the Senegal River. As the Senegal river is providing the necessary amount of water for patas monkeys to survive in these areas. The patas monkeys in the dried areas have completion to live with the minimum water and limiting factors. But, the patas monkeys do not prefer the dense cover areas due to the frequent exposure to predators. The population density of the patas monkeys is approximately about 1.5 individuals per km2.
Physical Characteristics of Patas Monkeys
The patas monkeys have a shaggy and reddish colour coat around their neck. They also have a greyhound structure. The ventrum of the patas monkey looks white in colour and they have legs and feet. Patas monkeys have whiskers on their chin with some white moustache. Patas monkeys contain a narrow body with long legs for quadrupedal locomotion and they have prominent rib cage. The eyes of patas monkeys are directly forward for binocular vision, incisors are spatulate, canines conspicuous and molar are bilophodont. The patas monkeys follow the dental formula as 2/2,1/1,2/2,3/3=32. The nostrils look narrow and close together, and they are pointed towards down.
The body of the patas monkeys is about 50 - 70 cm. They have reddish coloured tails by adding the same amount of the body. The weight of the patas is ranging from 7 to 13 kgs. Sexual dimorphism can be noted in the patas monkeys. The midfacial region of the male patas monkeys looks hypertrophied when compared to the female patas monkeys. The overall size of the male patas looks larger than the female due to some prolonged and accelerated growth.
Reproduction Cycle of Patas Monkeys
The male patas monkeys start to enter into groups when they attain sexual maturity. They usually wait for the female patas monkeys to approach to begin mating. The male patas monkeys will have matting with one or more female. The mating pattern followed by the patas monkeys is "harem" polygyny. However, the male monkeys will sometimes temporarily attached to the other troops during the breeding season.
In the harem groups of the patas monkeys, one male will reproduce with the several female monkeys. The real-time evidence for polygyny is patas monkeys. That is the one adult male in the group will mate with all other female monkeys in the group. They also chase and threaten the other males, who are attacking the troop. The competition among the males for mating with a female is more common in polygynous species such as patas monkeys. This is only because of the difference in reproductive success among resident and extra males from other groups.
Promiscuous mating is most common among patas monkeys. Further, the promiscuous events can be observed between several males, from two to nineteen, who are joined in a group during a breeding season. During the breeding season, both the males and females copulated and both were promiscuous.
The timing of reproduction for patas monkeys will vary according to the geographic location. The mating period of some populations falls between June to September. So, their baby patas monkeys are born between November to January. The male monkeys attain sexual maturity within 4 to years. Likewise, female monkeys take 3 years to attain sexual maturity. Usually, female produces their baby patas monkeys annually. They have short interbirth intervals so the population remains increasing. The reproduction interval is less than twelve months.
Further, the gestation period of patas monkeys is approximately 170 days. But, many researchers failed to calculate the exact gestation period of patas monkeys. This is mainly because the female monkeys do not show any external signs of estrus. Also, the captivity in female monkeys can go through postconception estrus. Therefore it remains difficult to reliably calculate the gestation periods in wild patas monkeys based on captive specimens.
Usually, the female monkeys will give birth to a single baby patas monkey. The nursing period of the patas monkeys is still exactly unknown. But the nursing period for young ones extends for several months, based upon that seen in other, similar-sized guenons
The adult female patas monkeys will nurse and care for their baby monkeys, till they became independent. The female offspring monkeys will remain in their natal group and associate with their mothers till their entire lives.
Behavioural Characteristics of Patas Monkeys
Patas monkeys usually prefer to live in groups. Only the female monkeys in the groups are permanent in the group. The male monkeys will leave the natal group once they attain sexual maturity. They may join all-male groups or may enjoy their solitary lifestyle. Sometimes the group consist of ten to forty members with only one male monkey. All monkeys in the group are related but not friendly. Patas monkeys are usually diurnal, this means they can search for their foods during day and night times.
Further, the patas monkeys may avoid each other or they will involve in aggressive behaviour. This is mainly counter-intuitive since their home ranges are large. The interactions among the groups may occur when several groups receiving their food and water from the same water hole. The total all day ranges, or the home range, of the patas monkeys, are about 3,200 hectares.
When intergroup conflicts occur among them, the females and baby patas monkeys in the group are more active than males. The male monkeys may rise some loud warning calls. But during the mating season, all the males join against females in antagonizing other groups. The female patas monkeys tend to defend the resources in their home range with the other female patas monkeys in the groups.
While coming to the intragroup relations, the social organizations are still not recognized. Also, the dominance hierarchies are not apparent among the groups of patas monkeys. The male and female monkeys won’t interact with each other more often except during the breeding season.
Patas Monkey Diet
Patas monkeys follow omnivorous diet pattern. They mainly intake fruits and insects sometimes they also intake roots, leaves and bird eggs. The intakes consist of either animal or vegetable substances.
The conservation of patas monkeys is more critical. The patas monkeys reproduce yearly but they remain a small population size and they occupy a limited geographical area. Due to the deforestation of their habitats, especially in West Africa, the population is becoming extinct too fast as humans are hunting the patas monkeys. On the Ivory Coast, people are hunting monkeys for their meat. The tribal groups in the Nuba mountains also hunt patas monkeys. Many farmers in Africa are shooting monkeys as they are spoiling their yields. On the other hand, medical research institutions are collecting 1000 patas monkeys per year for their experiments. So, these patas monkeys facing more hurdles every year to sustain themselves in this world. The habitat extinction of patas monkeys is also occurring in places such as Senegal and East Africa as a result of deforestation and drought. Patas monkeys also need the help of human beings to sustain themselves in this world.