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Primates: Primates - Behavior And Reproduction

monkeys time sound females

Most primates are arboreal, living in trees. Some are active during the day, such as the black lemurs and chimpanzees. Others are active only at night, such as the owl monkeys and lesser bushbabies. A few primates live primarily on the ground, such as mandrill baboons and gorillas, even though they may sleep in trees for protection.

A few primates live alone most of the time, such as the orangutan and the potto. However, most primates are quite social, living together in small or large groups. Verreaux's sifaka lives in groups of about six animals. The moustached monkey lives in groups of up to thirty-five animals. The savanna baboon may have 200 animals in its group. Depending on species, the groups have different numbers of males and females. The indri has equal numbers of males and females. The guenons, or forest monkeys, have one male to each group of adult females. This is sometimes called a harem (HARE-um) group. The gray-cheeked mangabey groups have two adult females to one adult male.

Primate females give birth to live young. Compared to other animal species of the same size, they have long pregnancies. Bushbabies are pregnant four to five months, and may have one to three babies each time. Baboons are pregnant for six months, and usually have one baby each time. Gorillas are pregnant for eight and a half months and have one baby each time. Babies are usually born covered with fur, and with their eyes and ears open.

Dedicated care by one or both parents is usual for primates. Babies nurse for a long time. There is a lot of physical contact between the infant and the mother—this is often because the infants travel with the mother, clinging to her fur. In some primate species, such as the cotton-top tamarin and Goeldi's monkey, they travel with the father too. They may ride clinging to a parent's front, belly, or back.

SOUNDING OFF

Primates make a wide variety of vocalizations, or sounds. The dourocouli (or night monkeys) of South America grunt. Howler monkeys sound their loud howl from the trees at dawn, during territorial arguments, and when they hear loud noises. Long-haired spider monkeys squeak, grunt, hoot, wail, moan, and scream. The sifakas get their name from the clear "si-fak!" call that they make. Male mandrills both grunt and make high-pitched crowing sounds. The Bornean orangutan male makes a booming sound that can be heard a half mile away. Tamarin monkeys and marmosets make a bird-like twittering sound. Marmosets can make ultrasonic sounds that humans can't hear.

Primates often interact with each other in social ways. Grooming, or cleaning, each other is one example. Depending on species, grooming may be done with the teeth, with hands, or with a finger, or grooming claw, which has a long nail specialized for grooming. Primates also interact with sound communication. Each sound is a form of communication.

Primates: Primates - Primates And People [next] [back] Primates: Primates - Habitat

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