Alouatta macconnelli


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Alouatta macconnelli
Species Authority: (Linnaeus, 1766)
Common Name/s:
English Guianan Red Howler Monkey, Trinidad Howling Monkey
French Singe Hurleur
Alouatta insulanus Elliot, 1910
Alouatta seniculus subspecies insulans Elliot, 1910 [orth. error]
Taxonomic Notes: Hill (1962) and Stanyon et al. (1995) listed nine subspecies of the red howler monkey, Alouatta seniculus: A. s. seniculus, A. s. arctoidea, A. s. stramineus, A. s. macconnelli, A. s. insulanus, A. s. amazonica, A. s. juara, A. s. puruensis, and A. s. sara.

The holotype of the form straminea Humboldt, 1812 is a female A. caraya, and is, therefore, not available for the red howler (Rylands and Brandon-Jones 1998). Bonvicino et al. (1996) argued that red howlers east of the Rio Trombetas are distinct from those to the west (and gave them the name of macconnelli (however, see Sampaio et al. 1996; Figueiredo et al. 1998; Rylands and Brandon-Jones 1998). Groves (2001, 2005) listed the Guiana red howler as A. macconnelli (Linnaeus, 1766).

The form occurring on the island of Trinidad (insulanus) was formerly considered a subspecies of A. seniculus, but following Groves (2001, 2005) is here included as a junior synonym of A. macconnelli.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor/s: Boubli, J.-P., Di Fiore, A. & Mittermeier, R.A.
Reviewer/s: Mittermeier, R.A. & Rylands, A.B. (Primate Red List Authority)
This species is listed as Least Concern given its widespread distribution and apparent lack of any major threats driving a significant population decline. It occurs in numerous and large protected areas and is not as susceptible to hunting as are the other atelids.
2003 Vulnerable (IUCN 2003)
2003 Vulnerable
2000 Vulnerable
1996 Vulnerable
1996 Vulnerable

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Alouatta macconnelli occurs throughout a large part of the Guiana Shield, north of the Rio Amazonas, east of the Rio Negro and east and south of the Rio Orinoco (Gregorin 2006). It would seem that it occurs on the Ilha Tupinambarana, between the rios Tapajós and Madeira south the Rio Amazonas, along with Alouatta nigerrima (Gregorin 2006). The distribution and taxonomy in Brazil were discussed by Gregorin (2006), and the distribution in Venezuela by Bodini and Pérez-Hernández (1987).
Brazil (Amapá, Amazonas, Pará, Roraima); French Guiana; Guyana; Suriname; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of (Venezuela (mainland))
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population density of A. macconnelli at the Voltzberg study area in Suriname has been estimated at 17 individuals/km² (Mittermeier 1977). In Guyana, Muckenhirn et al. (1975) registered an overall density of 7.5 animals/km², but local densities varied from 4.7-63.8 individuals/km². The population density estimated over nine years at the Nouragues Field Station in French Guiana was 18.9 individuals/km², having the largest biomass of the primate community there at 144.6 kg/km² (Guillotin et al. 1994). More recent surveys at Nouragues by Kessler (1998) provided density estimates of 11-15 individuals/km² or 2-3 groups/km².
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is found in primary lowland rain forest, gallery forest, and dry deciduous forest. In Suriname, A. macconnelli is found most often in high rain forest, but occurs in many other forest types as well, including riverbank high forest, marsh forest (creek forest and Mora forest), swamp forest, Pterocarpus-Tabebuia swamp, savanna forest (including Eperua falcata forest), mountain savanna forest and ridge forest. It is also sometimes seen in liana forest, in swamp scrub and mangrove forest, although it appears to be quite rare in these formations (Mittermeier 1977). In Guyana, it is one of the commonest species along rivers (Muckenhirn et al. 1975). Kinzey et al. (1988) reported it to be common in the areas they surveyed in the eastern part of the state of Bolívar in Venezuela (Río Caroni and Río Supamo), and elsewhere in the country it is known from secondary forests, highly seasonal semi-deciduous forests, gallery forests and mangrove forest, as well as forest tracts in the llanos (Neville et al. 1988). Howlers spend most of their time in the middle to upper canopy, although they will use all levels, and may even go to the ground to cover short distances between trees.

The howler monkeys are frugivore-folivores. The molar teeth are particularly adapted for their chewing leaves through shearing. They spend up to 70% of their day lying and sitting about quietly among the branches, fermenting leaves in their enlarged caecums. Like the spider monkeys, they are prehensile-tailed, with a naked patch of skin on the under surface at the tip. Their most characteristic feature is the deep jaws which surround the enlarged larynx and hyoid apparatus, a resonating chamber. It is with this enlarged and highly specialized voice box that they produce their howls (grunts, roars and barks). Howling sessions, usually involving the entire group, can be heard particularly in the early morning and are audible at distances of 1-2 kms (Drubbel and Gautier 1993). The red howlers (A. seniculus, A. macconnelli, A. juara, A. puruensis, and A. sara) have the largest voice boxes and the deepest roars, while the Mexican, Central American and northern Colombian mantled howlers, A. palliata and A. pigra, have the smallest, and their howls are more high pitched as a result.

Howlers are the only New World primates which regularly include mature leaves in their diet, although softer, less fibrous, young leaves are preferred when they are available. Their folivory and ability to eat mature leaves is one of the keys to their wide distribution and the wide variety of vegetation types they inhabit. Mature fruit is the other important food item, especially wild figs (Ficus) in many regions, but they also eat leaf petioles, buds, flowers (sometimes seasonally very important), seeds, moss, stems and twigs, and termitaria.

The diet of A. macconnelli has been studied by Mittermeier and van Roosmalen (1981) in Suriname and more recently during a long-term study in the Nouragues Field Station in French Guiana (Julliot and Sabatier 1993; Julliot 1994a,b, 1996a,b). It feeds mainly on soft parts of many different kinds of fruits, as well as flowers and young leaves. Also included in the diet are mature leaves, immature fruits, moss, bark, and the soil of termitaria. Julliot and Sabatier (1993) recorded the use of 195 plant species from 47 families. Seeds are ingested, but only rarely eaten. As a result Alouatta, like Ateles, is an important seed disperser. Julliot (1996a) found that A. macconnelli dispersed the seeds of more than 95% of more than 100 plant species (especially Sapotaceae) from which they ate fruit over the two years of her observations.

Alouatta palliata may form large groups of more than 40 individuals, with a number of breeding males but group sizes can be smaller, averaging 14. For the other species, 14 is a large group, and they can usually be seen numbering four or five or up to 11 or so individuals. In Suriname, A. macconnelli lives in small groups that usually include one adult male, one or more adult females and one or more juveniles and infants. Twenty-four groups counted in various parts of Suriname ranged in size from 2-8 and averaged 4.25 animals per group (Mittermeier, 1977). In the largest group observed (eight animals), one of the two adult males was definitely peripheral. Husson (1957) mentions groups of 5-6 in Suriname, and in French Guiana, Julliot (1992) studied a group over two years which varied from 6-8 individuals. In Mittermeier’s (1977) study, the home ranges for three groups in the Voltzberg study area on which adequate data are available were 6 ha, 10 ha and 11 ha over a one-year period. Julliot’s (1992) study group in French Guiana had a larger home range, however, encompassing 45 ha over two years.

Infant Alouatta are probably born throughout the year in Suriname, but data are not yet sufficient to determine if there is a birth peak. In Suriname, newborn infants have been seen in March, April, and November, and January (Mittermeier, 1977). Oestrus lasts 2-4 days, with intervals between oestrous periods of about 17 days. Interbirth intervals are generally about 16.6 months, although they may be shortened by the death of an infant to about 10.5 months (Crockett and Sekulic 1984). Mean gestation length is 191 days (range 186-194, n=6) (as for A. seniculus seniculus in Crockett and Sekulic 1982).

Adult male weight 5.2-7.1 kg (mean 6.2 kg, n=4), adult female weight 4.1-5.0 kg (mean 4.5 kg, n=3) (Ford and Davis 1992).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no major range-wide threats, but they are affected locally by some hunting, and, in the southern part of its range, there is deforestation due to cattle ranching.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is present in numerous, and large, protected areas:

Tumucumaque National Park (3,882,376 ha)
Cabo Orange National Park (630,017 ha)
Lago Piratuba Biological Reserve (394,223 ha)
Rio Trombetas Biological Reserve (409,578 ha)
Uatumã Biological Reserve (942,786 ha)
Jari Ecolopical Station (207,370 ha)

French Guiana
Nouragues Natural Reserve (100,000 ha)
Kaw Reserved Area (76,800 ha)

Kaietur National Park (11,655 ha)
Iwokrama Forest Reserve (364,000 ha)

Brinckheuvel Nature Reserve (6,000 ha) (unconfirmed: Mittermeier and van Roosmalen 1982)
Central Suriname Nature Reserve (1,600,000 ha) (Mittermeier and van Roosmalen 1982)
Coppename Monding Nature Reserve (12,000 ha) (unconfirmed: Mittermeier and van Roosmalen 1982)
Sipaliwini Nature Reserve (100,000 ha) (Mittermeier and van Roosmalen 1982)
Wia-wia Nature Reserve (36,000 ha) (Mittermeier and van Roosmalen 1982)
Brownsberg Nature Park (8,400 ha) (Mittermeier and van Roosmalen 1982; Norconk et al. 2003).

It is listed on Appendix II of CITES.
Citation: Boubli, J.-P., Di Fiore, A. & Mittermeier, R.A. 2008. Alouatta macconnelli. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <>. Downloaded on 17 April 2014.
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