Tuesday, October 11, 2011
ABC Wednesday: M is for Mandrill
a male Mandrill (Mandrillus sphinx)
Madrills are Old World-monkeys, related to baboons and much closer to Drills. Males weigh about 30 kilos, females only half of that. An adult male is only little smaller than a Rottweiler for example, with a shoulder height of about 50cm. They are the largest monkeys worldwide. The madrill in the photo is the dominant male of his group, which is why he has those striking colours. All mandrills are coloured that way, but it's much less bright with females and subordinate males. If a male loses his dominant position, the colours fade.
They live in huge troops with several hundred members, the biggest troop on record had 1300 individuals. Those hoards will split into smaller groups with one male and fifty or so females, depending on the season.
juveniles during a playfight
Mandrills live in tropical rainforests and wooded savannah areas in Cameroon, Gabon and Congo. They feed on plants and flowers, but will also take fruits, invertebrates and even birds or small mammals if they can get them. Unlike baboons, mandrills can climb very well and go up into a tree to sleep at night. Adult males usually stay on the ground during the day, but juveniles and females will also climb in search of food.
An age of 30 years is not uncommon in captivity, 46 years is the record. Leopards are the most common predator in the wild, Crowned Eagles will prey on juveniles. The biggest thread is once again destruction of habitat and being hunted for bushmeat.
Rafiki from Disney's The lion King is a Mandrill. Franz Marc painted one in 1913.
See what else M stands for with ABC Wednesday
Photos were taken at Hagenbecks Tierpark, published with kind permission.
Sources and further reading:
Animal Diversity Web
Arkive - lots of photos and videos