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Mantled Howler Monkey

Mantled Howler Monkey
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-04-14
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Canon EOS 1Ds MkII, Canon EF 300mm f2.8 USM IS
Exposure: f/5.0, 1/400 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): CeltickRanger's favorite wild animal photos 2 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2010-02-10 8:25
Viewed: 6346
Points: 34
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I took this shot in the Tortuguero National Park last Easter - and yes - you guessed - from a boat!

This is a species of monkey that can be a real pain! As soon as the area approaches dawn the males all start to roar. It is a noise that is not easy to sleep through - and it carries for miles!

The Mantled Howler (Alouatta palliata), or Golden-mantled Howling Monkey, is a species of howler monkey, a type of New World monkey, from Central and South America. It is one of the monkey species most often seen and heard in the wild in Central America. It takes its "mantled" name from the long guard hairs on its sides.

The Mantled Howler is one of the largest Central American monkeys, and males can weigh up to 9.8 kg (22 lb). It is the one Central American monkey whose diet is composed mostly of leaves. The Mantled Howler has several adaptations to this folivorous diet. Since leaves are difficult to digest and provide less energy than most foods, Mantled Howlers spend the majority of each day resting and sleeping. Male Mantled Howlers also have an enlarged hyoid bone, which is a hollow bone near the vocal chords. This enlarged bone amplifies the calls made by the male, which give the monkey its common name of "howler". Howling allows the monkeys to locate each other without expending energy on moving or risking physical confrontation.

The Mantled Howler lives in groups that can have over 40 members, although groups are usually smaller. Most Mantled Howlers of both sexes are evicted from the group they were born in upon reaching sexual maturity, and so most adult group members are unrelated. The most dominant male, the alpha male, gets preference for food and resting places, and mates with most of the receptive females. The Mantled Howler is important to the rainforest ecology as a seed disperser and germinator. Although it is impacted by deforestation, it is able to adapt better than other species, due to its ability to feed on abundant leaves and its ability to live in a limited amount of space.

The Mantled Howler's appearance is similar to other howler monkeys of the genus Alouatta except for coloration. The Mantled Howler is primarily black except for a fringe of gold to buff hair on each side that gives it its common name. When the males reach maturity, the scrotum turns white. Females are between 481 and 632 mm (18.9 and 24.9 in) in body length, excluding tail, and males are between 508 and 675 mm (20.0 and 26.6 in). The prehensile tail is between 545 and 655 mm (21.5 and 25.8 in) long. Adult females generally weigh between 3.1 and 7.6 kg (6.8 and 17 lb), while males typically weigh between 4.5 and 9.8 kg (9.9 and 22 lb). Average body weights can vary significantly between monkey populations in different locations. The brain of an adult Mantled Howler is about 55.1 g (1.94 oz), which is smaller than that of several smaller monkey species, such as the White-headed Capuchin.

The Mantled Howler shares several adaptations with other species of howler monkey that allow it to pursue a folivorous diet, that is, a diet with a large component of leaves. Its molars have high shearing crests, to help it eat the leaves, and males have an enlarged hyoid bone near the vocal chords. This hyoid bone amplifies the male Mantled Howler's calls, allowing it to locate other males without expending much energy.

The Mantled Howler is native to Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama. Within Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama, the Mantled Howler is found in locations throughout the countries. In Colombia and Ecuador, it is found in a narrow corridor bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Andes Mountains to the east and also in Colombia in a small area near the Caribbean Sea close to the Panama border. In Guatemala, the Mantled Howler is found through the central part of the country, and into southeastern Mexico south of the Yucatán Peninsula. The Mantled Howler is among the most commonly seen and heard primates in many Central American national parks, including Manuel Antonio, Corcovado, Monteverde and Soberania. The Mantled Howler lives in several different types of forest, including secondary forest and semi-deciduous forest but is found in higher densities in older areas of forest and in areas containing evergreen forest. The Mantled Howler is sympatric with another howler monkey species, the Guatemalan Black Howler, A. pigra, over a small part of its range, in Guatemala and Mexico near the Yucatan Peninsula.

The Mantled Howler gets the name "howler" from the calls made by the males, particularly at dawn and dusk, but also in response to disturbances.[9] These calls are very loud and can be heard for several kilometers. The calls consist of grunts and repeated roars that can last for four to five seconds each. The volume is produced by the hyoid bone — a hollow bone near the vocal chords — amplifying the sound made by the vocal chords. Male Mantled Howlers have hyoid bones that are 25 times larger than similarly-sized spider monkeys, and this allows the bone to act like the body of a drum in amplifying the calls. Females also call but their calls are higher in pitch and not as loud as the males'. The ability to produce these loud roars is likely an energy saving device, consistent with the Mantled Howler's low energy diet. The roars allow the monkey to locate each other without moving around or risking physical confrontations. The Mantled Howler uses a wide range of other sounds, including barks, grunts, woofs, cackles and screeches. It uses clucking sounds to maintain auditory contact with other members of its group.

marianas, siggi, CeltickRanger, anemone, nasokoun, fyapici, jaycee, eng55, maurydv, xTauruSx, uleko, Luis52, Hormon_Manyer has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
animal behavioiuringridshaul 1 04-29 06:44
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Critiques [Translate]

Ciao James, beautiful portrait of lovely chimp, nice composition with good natural ambientation, wonderful colors, splendid sharpness and good details, very well done, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • horias Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 837 W: 58 N: 2084] (11033)
  • [2010-02-10 10:16]

Hi James
What a lovely and funny capture!
Ans what amazing place to take a capture whit a monkey:a boat!!!

Great capture this lovely little monkey!

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2010-02-10 12:44]

Hello James,
beautiful monkey photo from you. Expression you captured is very good again. I liked the POV, pose, composition, colors and exposure control. Well done and TFS.
Best regards Siggi

hello James

you have several and many superb photos and this is one of that photos,
WOW ! what a superb shot of this monkey « prise sur le vif » as we say in French,
fine POV, appropriate framing, superb focus sharpness and details,
i love the way the background it is blurred by showing us details,
2 beautiful catch-lights in the eyes, TFS for this one of your best,


Hi James. Very beautiful photo of this cute monkey. Colours, details and composition are excellent.
Best regards

hello James,
I have begun to be made dizzy with your geographic changes, hehehe, a great scene and moment, again, the photo output is very good!
keep photographing and traveling my friend! TFS

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2010-02-10 15:49]

Hi James,

A fantastic monkey in the tree and taken from a boat?? From what you say he must have earned his name. He looks like he is lecturing to someone - maybe giving you directions on which is his best side. The face with the sparkling eyes and the expressive hands are marvelous.


  • Great 
  • zetu Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 26 N: 3888] (16941)
  • [2010-02-10 21:33]

Hello James
Wonderful capture of this monkey taken with great details and beautiful colors

  • Great 
  • eng55 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1256 W: 42 N: 1976] (5892)
  • [2010-02-10 22:08]

Hi James,
Lovely capture of this monkey.I liked POV,
catchlight in eyes,details and composition
a lot.Have a nice day!
Thanks for posting..

Hello James,
a fantastic capture of the Mantled Howler Monkey in a great posture among the branches, i like this splendid composition with a marvellous environment.
Best regards

Hello James, lovely shot of this monkey with nice details and composition.
TFS and regards,

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2010-02-11 12:04]

Hello James,
A really great capture of this Monkey with a suitable name! I don't expect it's that easy to get close to though? Your capture is great showing it in a fine pose up in the tree. A very fine composition too!
TFS and regards, Ulla

  • Great 
  • Luis52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1175 W: 8 N: 4240] (15809)
  • [2010-02-11 14:42]

Hola Jose.
Interesante foto. El pequeño mono parece disfrutar comiendo de las hojas y frutos del arbol donde se posa. Finos detalles y exelente la nota escrita.
Saludos James.

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2010-02-11 21:21]

That is a really sharp shot of the howler monkey, James.
I do remember the infernal noise that they made at dawn. Quite impressive.
These dark monkeys who like to hang out inside the trees are usually very hard to photograph, but you have managed a really clear and sharp picture, with a good POV.
TFS. : )

Hi James,
Excellent portrait of the monkey in beautiful lights, taken from a perfect POV. What I love the most on the photo is the fantastic DOF, but to say honestly the whole image is fantastic. Congrats MF and tfs.
Have a nice weekend, friendly regards, László

Dear James
Again on my backlegs after battling for 10 weeks some mysterious tropical disease,I now can look and admire your wonderful portfolio

I selected the Howler Monkey, remembering the sleepless nights in some sort of tree-house in the Brazilian Amazon!

I never saw one and ended up buying a post-card...

This specimen is really posing for you with the bright sun in his face. All available cards portray a black blob - could be anything.

How close did you actually get?

The animal seems completely unconcerned by your presence, crouching on that branch, and the detail of the long strong tail is an added bonus.

Your photo displays - like your whole portfolio - perfect technical expertise and is a pleasure to view!
Have a nice evening (day) depending where you are at the the moment.
Warm regards
PS If ever you lost your job, you could sell postcards made from your portfolio

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