The Roloway monkey is an arboreal primate, distinguished from related species by its characteristic long beard, orange colored patches on the back of its limbs as well as black overall coloration with white spots. The Roloway monkeys are endemic to Ghana, where these animals are among three most endangered monkeys. These tree-dwelling creatures generally occupy undisturbed, mature forests of their range. The Roloway monkeys currently suffer from various human activates, since these animals are unable to adapt to quick changes in their environment.
The natural range of Roloway monkeys extends from the Pra River (Ghana) to east of the Sassandra River (Ivory Coast) in Western Africa. Additionally, their range in the east stretches to Kakum in Ghana. These tree-dwelling animals inhabit mature forests, including first-and second-growth deciduous forests and lowland moist forests.
Habits and lifestyle
As diurnal animals, Roloway monkeys are active during the daytime hours. These primates are highly social creatures, gathering in groups of 6 - 22 individuals, typically made up of a single leading male and numerous females with their offspring. Grooming is an important activity in this species. These tree-dwelling quadrupeds usually move through their forest habitat, choosing the most direct way, instead of jumping from one branch to another. Young individuals are typically shy and gentle-natured, whereas older ones are stronger and more confident. If captive Roloway monkeys live in an environment that resembles their natural habitat (e.g. canopy), they generally display the same behaviors as conspecifics in the wild. Community members communicate with each other primary through body posture and vocalizations. The latter include an alarm call, given when a predator or another group of monkeys appear of the territory. Another important call is the 'gathering' call, emitted by the male to bring the group together if necessary.
troop, barrel, cartload, tribe, wilderness
Diet and nutrition
Roloway monkeys are omnivores, they generally consume insects, supplementing this diet with various seeds, leaves as well as pulp of mature fruits.
The reproductive system and behavior of this species is insufficiently explored, although they may exhibit polygynous mating system (a single male mates with numerous females) as the closely related Diana monkeys. As Cercopithecus species, they are likely to breed whenever environmental conditions are suitable, rather than having a certain breeding season. Gestation period lasts for 5 - 6 months, yielding one infant.
The Roloway monkeys are currently among the most endangered monkeys around the globe, greatly due to degradation of their natural habitat as a result of illegal poaching, logging and crop industry. These animals also suffer from hunting for their meat. As a matter of fact, markets in Ghana sell as much as 800 tons of bush meat every year, a part of which is the meat of Roloway monkeys.
The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the Roloway monkeys’ total population. However, according to the Animal Diversity Web resource, it is estimated that the Roloway monkeys’ population in Ghana is below 1,000 individuals. Overall, Roloway monkeys’ numbers are decreasing, and the animals are currently classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List.
Not much is known about the role Roloway monkeys play in the ecosystem. Due to their diet, they may act as seed dispersers of local plants.
Fun facts for kids
- The Roloway monkey is referred to by locals as 'Boapea', which is pronounced 'boh-ah-pee-ah'.
- Grooming is a very important part of their lives, allowing to settle conflicts and display personal affection.
- These animals show aggression through a wide variety of ways, including grinning, pulling the lip, yawning, head bobbing as well as jerking their head and shoulders forward.
- Like humans, these primates peel bananas before eating, since they do not consume the skin.
- As Old World monkeys, the Roloway monkeys possess 32 teeth, whereas New World monkeys usually have 36 teeth.
- The Roloway monkey is one of the 96 Old World monkeys.
- A social unit of these primates is known as a 'troop'.
- Monkeys are distinguished from other primates by exhibiting tails.
- Monkeys usually move among tree branches by running. However, some monkey species travel by arm-to-arm swinging.
- Another notable difference between Old and New World monkeys is the shape of their nostrils. While the former display small, curved and closely situated nostrils, the latter possess flat noses with rounded nostrils, which are set apart.