Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Ecuadorian Mantled Howler (Monkey)

On our recent trip to Ecuador we had a layover in Panama and took a motor boat ride out into the Panama Canal to what is called "Monkey Island," which is an area flooded by the canal which has turned hills into islands. I was kind of surprised, later, when Judy expressed that she really disliked that excursion - it was boring and way too long and you couldn't even see the monkeys. 

As I've thought about the few times we've tried to see Central or South American monkeys, I think of abject failure. When we were in the Amazon Basin of Peru we caught a glimpse of a monkey flying through the trees in the evening, probably some sort of capuchin. In Villahermosa, Mexico we were at an archeological site and heard a howler monkey in the nearby trees about blow us over, it was so loud, but we never saw it. 

In the Panama Canal we saw a number of mantled howler monkeys, at least three if not more. They were difficult to see, obscured by lots of greenery, and they did not move around much, but they they did not move around much so we could look at them, albeit imperfectly. Yes, I see them much, much better, home with cropped photos, but I'm seeing them and love them. 
This is the first mantled howler we saw. Very high up in a tree. Note the white scrotum. 

The mantled howler eats a huge quantity of leaves that are difficult to digest and do not provide much energy. So it spends most of the day resting and sleeping.  
This is the last mantled howler we saw, hanging upside down, holding on by his tail and two back feet, while eating leaves. 

Here are the golden brown hairs that give it its name. 
It is mostly black except for a fringe of golden brown hairs on the flanks of the body which give it the name "mantled." Also, when the male reaches maturity, its scrotum turns white. Males also have an enlarged hyoid bone near the vocal chords that allows them to amplify their voices and give the species the name "howler." Click the voice recording in the upper right hand corner here

The mantled howler has three subspecies. We saw the Ecuadorian mantled howler, found in Panama, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. The Mexican howler, which may have been the monkey we heard in Villahermosa, is found in Mexico and Guatemala. The third subspecies, the golden-mantled howler, is found in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. 

I would love to go back and take the same tour again. 

No comments:

Post a Comment