Distribution, habitat structure and troop size in Eastern Cape samango monkeys Cercopithecus albogularis labiatus (Primates: Cercopithecoidea).

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University of Fort Hare


The samango monkey subspecies Cercopithecus albogularis labiatus is endemic to South Africa, and known to occur in Afromontane forests. There has been a major decline in this subspecies, exceeding 30% in some populations over the past 30 years, primarily as a result of the loss of suitable habitat. A second samango subspecies, C. a. erythrarchus, occurs near the northern border of South Africa, mainly in coastal lowland forest, and the distributions of the two subspecies do not overlap. C. a. labiatus was thought to be confined to Afromontane forests, but the study described here focused on C. a. labiatus populations that were recently identified in the Indian Ocean Belt forests near East London. I undertook to assess the distribution of C. a. labiatus in the Eastern Cape, to evaluate the habitat structures of the Afromontane and Indian Ocean coastal belt forests, and to understand the effect these habitats have on essential aspects of the socio-ecology of the C. a. labiatus populations. Distribution surveys were conducted in protected areas throughout the Eastern Cape, and samango monkeys were found to be present within forest patches in the Amatola Mountains, Eastern Cape dune forests and the Transkei coastal scarp forests. The sizes and composition of two troops were assessed: one troop in the Amatole forests and one in the Eastern Cape dune forests. The Amatola Mountain troop had a mean troop size of 28.8 ± 7. 8, while that the dune forest mean troop size was 29.1 ± 9.7. C. a. labiatus was found to be distributed in forest patches where the subspecies was previously thought to not be present. The structures of the different forests proved to have no significant effect on these fundamental aspects of socio-ecology within the subspecies



Biogeography, Cercopithecini, Indian Ocean coastal forest, Socio-ecology, Sykes’ monkey, Troop composition