The sun-tailed monkey is a relatively new discovery in Gabon. The diet of the sun-tailed monkey may be as elusive as this species has been.
A brief look at Gabon
Gabon is located in West Central Africa. It gained independence from France in 1960. As reported by the BBC, even with over 40 ethnic groups in the country, Gabon has managed to stay mostly free from the turmoil which has plagued many other African Nations. There have been just two presidents since the country has been free from French rule. French troops are known to have still maintained a presence in the region. In addition to oil, Gabon boasts a wide variety of native wildlife. A recent new discovery is the sun-tailed monkey.
Sun tailed monkey discovery
The sun tailed monkey, also known as the sun-tailed guenon, is apparently native to certain areas of Gabon. Its’ scientific name is Cercopithecus solatus. It was just discovered in 1984 and first described in 1988. The actual population of the sun-tailed monkey, whose habitat is primarily in the lowland moist forest areas, is still unknown. Even without the population being known, the sun-tailed monkey, is considered to be “vulnerable” according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). The primary threat to the sun-tailed monkey is that it is hunted for meat. But it is not always easy to find the animal, which may lead to its population being sustained. The sun-tailed monkey has apparently managed to elude researchers for a very long time, so there is no wonder that studying it is still quite difficult. Learning about the diet of this species may not be as difficult.
The diet of the sun-tailed monkey
What is known about the diet of the sun-tailed monkey is that it eats a variety of fruit. The sun-tailed monkey, in fact, contributes to the proliferation of fruit in the region of its natural habitat. The creature is a primarily a fruit eater. It is not only a fruit-eater, but a frugivorous species. A frugivore disperses seeds from the fruit it eats. As with other frugivore mammals, seeds from the many varieties of fruit that the sun-tailed monkey eats are most likely spit out, which leads to dispersion. As explained by the UK’s The Seed Site, some animals disperse seeds when the seeds become attached to the fur of some animals. The animal then travels along after eating. Whether seeds are spit out by the sun-tailed monkey, seeds drop to the ground when the species eats or whether seeds are carried in fur after eating, germination will occur at the new location, providing new fruit food sources later. This, in turn, helps keep the native habitat of the sun-tailed monkey with an ample supply of fruit, which is critical to its diet. If the monkey eats the seeds along with the fruit, rather than spitting them out to disperse them, there could be a negative effect, leading to less abundant fruit in the native habitat, which could affect feeding in the future, particularly as the current generation of sun-tailed monkeys age or for new generations.
There are indications that some fruits may be harder to find or perhaps the sun-tailed monkey is just becoming bolder in seeking out its favorite fruits. Sun-tailed guenons are known to have raided crops in villages surrounding areas where the creature is known to live.
Although the sun-tailed monkey is a relatively newly-discovered species, it is already on the list of vulnerable species. The sun-tailed monkey makes its habitat in areas of Gabon where hunters have more difficulty locating the species for its meat. Living in thick underbrush can help prevent destruction of its habitat caused by logging in the area. Perhaps the primary factor in the survival and thriving of the species is its diet, which consists mainly of the abundant variety of fruit in the area, aided by dispersion of seeds by animals such as the frugivorous sun-tailed monkey.