Northern talapoin, Guinea titi
The Gabon talapoin, otherwise called the Northern talapoin, is one of two talapoin species (another one is the Angolan Talapoin), belonging to genus Miopithecus of the Cercopithecidae family. This primate is an Old World, native African animal. As a matter of fact, the Gabon talapoin hasn't been identified as separate species and there has been only one recognized talapoin species - the Angolan Talapoin. Nevertheless, the talapoin population in Cameroon (more precisely - south of the River Sanaga), Rio Muni and Gabon can be considered as an independent species called the Gabon Talapoin.
The Gabon talapoins occur in Cameroon, Angola, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. Their range is restricted to the Sanaga River (Cameroon) in north and Cabinda (Angola) in south. This small primate is highly vulnerable to predation. Hence, it typically looks for dense evergreen cover protect itself and is commonly found in dense undergrowth of riverbanks. Preferred types of habitat are lowland equatorial rainforests, swamps and riverine forests, where this monkey lives near water streams, particularly - freshwater rivers.
Habits and lifestyle
The Gabon talapoin monkeys are highly social creatures, occasionally forming units of up to 100 individuals. However, they normally live in family groups of 12 individuals on average, consisting of multiple adult males and females with their young. They are diurnal animals. The Gabon talapoin monkeys spend their daytime hours foraging for food in small sub-groups, which then reunite to sleep at night in trees, growing near water. These primates are non-territorial, as opposed to their close relatives, Guenos. Additionally, the Gabon talapoin monkeys are among the quietest monkeys. When threatened, these animals will give out sharp whistles to alert community members.
troop, barrel, cartload, tribe, wilderness
Diet and nutrition
As omnivorous animals, Gabon talapoin monkeys consume food of both plant and animal origin, including various fruits, seeds, aquatic plants, insects, shellfish as well as bird eggs and small vertebrates.
The reproductive behavior of this species is insufficiently explored. However, these primates are known to breed during the dry season. Gestation period lasts 5 - 6 months, yielding one infant, which is large and well-developed at birth. The baby grows up quickly. At 6 weeks old, it begins taking solid food. And finally, at around 3 months old, the young talapoin is independent.
during the dry season
Although classified as Least Concern, the Gabon talapoin monkeys suffer from small-scale hunting for food. However, due to their small body size, these animals are simply unprofitable for hunters.
According to IUCN, the Gabon talapoin is common and widespread throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) and its numbers remain stable.
Due to their plant-based diet, the Gabon talapoin monkeys act as seed dispersers of their range. They also control population numbers of insects they feed upon. And finally, these primates are key prey species for numerous medium to large predators.
Fun facts for kids
- Plays are an important part of their daily life. Although this is typically initiated by juveniles, adult individuals may also participate in it. One of the most common plays is wrestling, during which they grab, grapple and play-face. Additionally, they can often be observed running, during which one animal chases another.
- Meanwhile, males of this species display more playful behavior than females.
- Talapoin monkeys use very few vocalizations. One of the common calls is a 'pant chirp', through which an animal invites others to join it for an attack.
- Like most primates, these animals have a rather complex communication system, which includes vocalizations and visual signals. Conspecifics also associate by means of tactile signals, which enhance relationships between community members acting like grooming. Additionally, some individuals communicate through chemical signals, which are often associated with reproduction.
- These primates have a number of similarities with humans. Like humans, they are able to feel love, fear, compassion, anger and hate. They are known to be very attentive to each other, nursing and taking care of sick individuals. Other common activities include petting and grooming each other. Additionally, they have an amazing human-like habit of holding hands in order to display affection.
- As opposed to most primates, the Gabon talapoin monkeys are excellent swimmers, particularly those in swampy areas. Morover, when foraging, these primates can even dive if necessary.