Alouatta seniculus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Alouatta seniculus
Species Authority: (Linnaeus, 1766)
Common Name/s:
English Colombian Red Howler Monkey, Colombian Red Howling Monkey
Spanish Mono Araguato, Coto Mono, Mono, Mono Colorado, Mono Cotudo, Roncador
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.

Alouatta s. seniculus from Cartagena, Bolívar, Colombia, is the red howler monkey from the north-western Amazon. The subspecies of red howler monkey listed in Hill (1962) are considered to be junior synonyms, full species or, in the case of stramineus, unavailable.

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., Rylands, A.B. & Mittermeier, R.A.
Reviewer/s: Mittermeier, R.A., Rylands, A.B. (Primate Red List Authority) & Hoffmann, M. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
This species is listed as Least Concern given its widespread (although incompletely known (relative to A. juara) distribution and lack of any apparent major threats believed to be resulting in a significant range-wide population decline.
2003 Least Concern (IUCN 2003)
2003 Least Concern
1996 Lower Risk/least concern (Baillie and Groombridge 1996)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: There is no information available that allows for the separation of the ranges of the A. juara of Brazil and Peru from A. seniculus of the Colombian Andes and Venezuela (type locality: Cartagena, Bolivar, near the Río Magdalena, Colombia), so they have been mapped together.

In Colombia, A. seniculus is absent from the Pacific and the desert of the Guajira Peninsula, and has not been reported in from the Department of Nariño (Hernández-Camacho and Cooper 1976; Defler 2004). Otherwise, it is present throughout the country, except in non-forested areas and mountainous regions above about 3,000 m above sea level (though it has been reported at 3,200 m in the Central Andes) (Hernández-Camacho and Cooper 1976). In Venezuela, Bodini and Pérez-Hernández (1987) indicate that the howler monkey north of the Rio Orinoco and west through Apure basin north of the Rio Meta the is a distinct, as yet undescribed, form, but Linares (1998) labeled it as A. arctoidea, otherwise also occurring along the north coast of Venezuela. Alouatta seniculus occurs west of the Sierra de Merida and aorund Lake Maracaibo.

In summary, Alouatta juara-seniculus occurs west of the of the rios Juruá and Envira through the Peruvian Amazon north (say) of the Rio Inuya, north along the Andean Cordillera into Ecuador and in Colombia including the Cordillera Central and the Cordillera Oriental into Venezuela around Lake Maracaibo, west of the Serra de Merida. It is possible that either an undescribed red howler (Bodini and Pérez-Hernández 1987) or A. arctoidea (Linares 1998) occurs north of the Rio Meta in Colombia.
Brazil (Amazonas); Colombia (Colombia (mainland)); Ecuador (Ecuador (mainland)); Peru; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of (Venezuela (mainland))
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Population density in rainforest areas is very variable in Ecuador, where 5 to 12 individuals/km² have been recorded
Crude densities of 15 individuals/km² have been recorded in Colombia (Defler 2003). Soini (192) estimated an ecological density of 36 individuals/km² in the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, Peru. In Brazil, Mendes Pontes (1999) recorded densities of 1.2-2.1 individuals/km² on the Island of Maracá, Roraima, lower in fact those for Ateles belzebuth at 5.0-5.8 individuals/km².
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is found in primary lowland rainforest, dry deciduous forest, Andean cloud forest (including oak forest), gallery forest in the eastern plains of Colombia, mangrove swamps, as well as in várzea forest (Hernández-Camacho and Cooper 1976; Gaulin and Gaulin 1982). This species can be found up to 3,200 m (Hernández-Camacho and Cooper 1976). In Ecuador, it occupies tropical and subtropical evergreen rain forest from 200 m to 2,000 m, but it is more common below 700 m (Tirira 2007). Tirira (2007) recorded that it occurs in many different forest types, from tall primary evergreen terra firma forest to seasonally flooded forests and palm swamp forest.

The howler monkeys are the large leaf-eaters of the South American primate communities. 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 jaw which surrounds 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).

Red howler groups are usually small, ranging in size from 2-16 animals and averaging 4-10 (Neville et al. 1988). They can have as many as 14 or 15 individuals, but they usually number four or five or up to 11 or so individuals. Group sizes recorded by Mendes Pontes (1999) on the Island of Maracá, Roraima, were generally small (from 1-5). Soini (192) observed group sizes ranging from 3-8 (mean 5.54±1.59, n=74) in the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, Peru. Adult males will often be solitary. In red howlers, there is usually only one dominant male in the group (occasionally two), others being sub-adults, or juveniles, along with a harem of two to five females. Unlike the spider monkeys, and related to the large proportion of leaves in the diet (up to 50% of the annual diet), the howler monkeys generally have quite small and broadly overlapping home ranges, of 5 ha up to 45 ha, depending on the type of habitat (Neville et al. 1988). Gaulin and Gaulin (1982) recorded a home range of 22 ha for a group of nine howlers in cloud forest at 2,300 m. In the llanos of northern Venezuela, home ranges of A. arctoidea can be as small as 4 ha (Sekulic 1982). Two groups studied by Soini (1992) used 6 and 9 ha each in the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, Peru.

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 undoubtedly 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. Alouatta seniculus has also been seen to eat and lick clay at so-called “salado” sites in the Colombian Amazon (Izawa 1975). The reason for this and the consumption of soil from termitaria is still not clearly understood, but may involve the need for certain minerals, or may be due to the properties of clay which, by adsorption, can reduce the effects of toxins ingested with leaves.

Infant Alouatta are probably born throughout the year in Suriname, but data are not yet sufficient to determine if there is a birth peak. Crockett and Rudran (1987a,b) examined seasonal variation in births in red howlers from northern Venezuela, and found that they were less frequent during the early wet season (weaning would occur at the time of greatest food shortage). The llanos forests are more seasonal, however, than in the Guianas, and it is possible that this is not the case elsewhere. 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], considered here to be A. arctoidea).

As for Alouatta seniculus, Venezuela
Adult male 6.31 kg (n=64), adult female 4.67 kg (n=46) (Rodríguez and Boher 1988)
Adult male weight 5.4-9.0 kg (mean 7.2 kg, n=61), adult female weight 4.2-7.0 kg (mean 5.6 kg, n=61) (Ford and Davis 1992).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): No major threats are known to this species. It is hunted, but withstands hunting pressure better than do other atelids. Adapts to relatively disturbed forest, although in Colombia there has been extensive deforestation within its range.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species occurs, or may occur, in several protected areas:

Amacayacu Natural National Park (293,000 ha) (Defler 1994)
Cahuinarí Natural National Park (575,500 ha) (Defler 1994)
Serrania de Chiribiquete Natural National Park (1,280,000 ha) (Defler 1994)
Cordillera de los Picachos Natural National Park (286,600 ha) (Defler 1994)
Cueva de los Guacharos Natural National Park (9,000 ha) (Defler 1994)
El Tuparro Natural National Park (548,000 ha) (Defler 1994)
Tayrona Natural National Park (15,000 ha [12,000 ha on land]) (Defler 1994)
Isla de Salamanca Natural National Park (21,000 ha) (Defler 1994)
Paramillo Natural National Park (460,000 ha) (Defler 1994)
El Cocuy Natural National Park (158,125 ha) (Defler 1994)
Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Natural National Park (383,000 ha) (Defler 1994)
Tamá Natural National Park (48,000 ha) (Defler 1994)
Pisba Natural National Park (45,000 ha) (Defler 1994)
Los Nevados Natural National Park (58,300 ha) (Defler 1994)
Chingaza Natural National Park (50,374 ha) (Defler 1994)
Sumapaz Natural National Park (154,000 ha) (Defler 1994)
Las Hermosas Natural National Park (150,000 ha) (Defler 1994)
Los Farallones Natural National Park (150,000 ha) (Defler 1994)
Serrania de la Macarena Natural National Park (630,000 ha) (Defler 1994)
Puracé Natural National Park (83,000 ha) (Defler 1994)
La Paya Natural National Park (442,000 ha) (Defler 1994)
Tinigua Natural National Park (201,875 ha) (Defler 1994)
Nukak Natural National Reserve (855,000 ha) (Defler 1994)
Catatumbo-Bari Natural National Reserve (158,125 ha) (Defler 1994)

Yasuní National Park (982,300 ha) (Tirira 2007)
Sangay National Park (517,765 ha) (Tirira 2007)
Sumaco-Napo Galeras National Park (205,249 ha) (Tirira 2007)
Podocarpus National Park (146,280 ha) (Tirira 2007)
Cayambe-Coca Ecological Reserve (403,103 ha) (Tirira 2007)
Cofán-Bermejo Ecological Reserve (55,451 ha) (Tirira 2007)
Cuyabeno Faunal Production Reserve (Tirira 2007)

Pacaya Samiria National Reserve (Soini 1992)

Perija National Park (295,288 ha) (Venezuela, INPARQUES, 1982).

It is listed on Appendix II of CITES .
Citation: Boubli, J.-P., Di Fiore, A., Rylands, A.B. & Mittermeier, R.A. 2008. Alouatta seniculus. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <>. Downloaded on 16 April 2014.
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