Distribution, population status and conservation of the samango monkey

Project: Research

Project Details


Primates play vital roles in ecosystem structure, functioning and resilience (Estrada et al. 2017). They disperse fruits and seeds; play integral roles in food webs as consumers and prey; and participate in a diverse array of coevolved relationships with other species (Marsh, 2003). Many primate species are frugivorous and play an important part in forest regeneration by dispersing seeds through zoochory (Estrada et al. 2017). Forests suffering from disturbance and/or isolation are at risk of losing their primate populations which in turn could have trickle down effects on plant populations by decreasing genetic heterozygosity and increasing genetic subpopulation differentiation, increasing negative density dependence and decreasing recruitment (Pacheco & Simonetti 2000; Nunez-Iturri et al. 2008; Caughlin et al. 2015).
The impact of habitat fragmentation on primate populations has been studied in many places in Africa, Asia and South America but there is still no consensus as to how primates react to forest disturbance and fragmentation (Marsh 2003). Arroyo-Rodríguez et al. (2013) conducted a review on habitat fragmentation studies involving primates and found that many studies lack the landscape context focusing on single or few fragments only and including only few fragment variables. They showed that while studies investigating the impacts of fragmentation on primate populations are steadily increasing there are still major gaps that need to be filled to reach a more comprehensive understanding. It has further been found that the ability of primate populations to sustain themselves in disturbed and fragmented forests is very species-specific, depending on variation in a range of traits such as dispersal mode, diet and ranging behaviour (Estrada et al. 2017). A species’ strategy to cope with fragmentation can further vary between areas of its distribution range depending on site specific circumstances (matrix of surrounding fragments, reasons for fragmentation, additional anthropogenic pressures) (Marsh 2013). As a result, conservation and management recommendations are both species and circumstance specific (Gibbons & Hartcourt 2009). Marsh (2003) suggested that primate species with a low or flexible degree of frugivory, small or variable home range sizes, broad behavioural and dietary plasticity, and the capacity to move through or utilise the surrounding matrix of fragments are most likely to persist in a fragmented landscape.

The taxonomy of samango monkeys is still disputed on both the species and subspecies level. While some authors list them under the C. mitis group (Napier 1981, Grubb et al. 2003, Lawes et al. 2013) others separate them under the species C. albogularis (Groves 2001, 2005). Regarding the subspecies, Meester et al. (1986) and Grubb et al. (2003) list two subspecies from the southern African region: C. a. labiatus and C. a. erythrarchus while Roberts (1951), Dendelot (1974) and Groves (2001, 2005) list an additional third subspecies, namely C. a. schwarzi. A study by Dalton et al. (2015) supports the identification of three distinct genetic entities namely; C. a. labiatus, C. a. erythrarchus and C. a. schwarzi.
Effective start/end date1/02/1531/12/22


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