Alouatta ululata 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Primates Atelidae

Scientific Name: Alouatta ululata
Species Authority: Elliot, 1912
Common Name(s):
English Maranhão Red-handed Howler Monkey, Maranhão Red-handed Howler, Red-handed Howling Monkey
Spanish Guariba-de-mãos-vermelhas
Taxonomic Notes: Hill (1962) listed five subspecies of the Red-handed Howler Monkey, Alouatta belzebul: A. b. belzebul (Linnaeus, 1766) (restricted by Cabrera [1957] to the Rio Capim, eastern Pará); A. b. discolor (Spix, 1823) from Gurupá, Pará; A. b. ululata Elliot, 1912, from Miritiba, Maranhão; A. b. mexianae Hagmann 1908, from the island of Mexiana, in the Marajó Archipelago, Brazil; and A. b. nigerrima Lönnberg, 1941 (restricted by Cabrera [1957] to Patinga, Amazonas).

Groves (2001, 2005) considered A. discolor (Spix, 1823) and A. ululata Elliot, 1912, to be synonyms of A. belzebul. Gregorin (2006) placed them as distinct species, followed here.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered C1 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): de Oliveira, M.M. & Kierulff, M.C.M.
Reviewer(s): Mittermeier, R.A. & Rylands, A.B. (Primate Red List Authority)
This species is listed as Endangered based on a small population size and continuing decline driven primarily by hunting and habitat loss. It is estimated that there are less than 2,500 mature individuals remaining in the wild, and the population is expected to undergone a decline of at least 20% over the next 2 generations (24 years) due to continued hunting pressure across the range.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:A poorly known howler monkey, its range has been elucidated recently through the efforts of the Centro de Proteção de Primatas Brasileiros of the Instituto Chico Mendes de Conservação da Biodiversidade, Paraíba (Oliveira et al. 2004). It occurs along coastal north-east Brazil in three states: Maranhão, Piauí and Ceará. The type locality is Miritiba, now called Humberto de Campos, on the coast of Maranhão, which it would seem marks the western limit to the range, just east of Rio Itapecurú. Besides the type locality, Bonvicino et al. (1989) mapped Boa Vista, just east of the lower Rio Parnaíba in Maranhão (locality 9, map Figure 2, Table 2); Goiabeira, Granja (locality 5) near the coast on the left (west) bank of the mouth of the Rio Coreaú in Ceará, and Bom Jardim, São Benedito (locality 4) in the Serra da Ibiapaba. Oliveira et al. (2004) indicated the Serra da Ibiapaba as the eastern limit to the species’ range. Guedes et al. (2000) registred two further localities in the Serra da Ibiapaba in the municipality Ibiapina. Oliveira et al. (2004; pers. comm.) have found that it occurs further south than was previously recognized, extending at least to the Rio Poti in Piauí.
Countries occurrence:
Brazil (Ceará, Maranhão, Piauí)
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:There is no information available on population densities, but total population size is undoubtedly small due to the extreme destruction and fragmentation of its forests in a very restricted geographic range.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:In Maranhão, they are found in open, transitional babaçu palm forest (Gregorin 2006). The Serra da Ibiapaba, a humid forest enclave (brejo nordestino), has humid forest on its eastern slopes (that remains only because the terrain is so steep). Oliveira et al. (2004) report that in Ceará (Viçosa do Ceará and Coreaú) they are also found in areas of semideciduous and dry 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).

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. Red howler groups are usually small, ranging in size from 2-16 animals and averaging 4-10 (Neville et al. 1988). Alouatta ululata groups generally comprise four or five or up to 11 or so individuals.

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).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Very few populations still survive in a region which has a long history of human occupation, and resulting high levels of forest loss and hunting. The species survives only on hill tops and steep slopes, where they are inaccessible to hunters and where the forest is protected by law (Areas of Permanent Preservation according to the Brazilian Forest Code (Law 4.771, 15 September 1965).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species occurs in the Lençois Maranhenses National Park, Maranhão (157,261 ha), Ubajara National Park, Ceará (6,288 ha) (in range, but possibly extirpated) (Oliveira et al. 2004), and Serra da Ibiapaba Environmental Protection Area (1,592,550 ha), Piauí/Ceará.

It is listed on CITES Appendix II.

There is no captive breeding programme. More surveys are required to establish the status of the surviving populations and to evaluate possibilities and alternatives for conservation action.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.9. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
1. Forest -> 1.5. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.1. Harvest management
3. Species management -> 3.4. Ex-situ conservation -> 3.4.1. Captive breeding/artificial propagation
4. Education & awareness -> 4.3. Awareness & communications

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
  Subject to recent education and awareness programmes:Yes
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.1. Housing & urban areas
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.2. Small-holder farming
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.2. Small-holder grazing, ranching or farming
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

4. Transportation & service corridors -> 4.1. Roads & railroads
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.3. Logging & wood harvesting -> 5.3.5. Motivation Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
1. Research -> 1.6. Actions
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Bonvicino, C. R., Langguth, A. and Mittermeier, R. A. 1989. A study of the pelage color and geographic distribution in Alouatta belzebul (Primates: Cebidae). Rev. Nordestina Bio 6(2): 139-148.

Cabrera, A. 1957. Catálogo de los mamíferos de América del Sur: I (Metatheria-Unguiculata-Carnivora). Revista del Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales "Bernardino Rivadivia" e Instituto Nacional de Investigación de las Ciencias Naturales, Ciencias Zoológicas 4(1): 1-307.

da Cruz Lima, E. 1945. Mammals of Amazônia, Vol. 1. General Introduction and Primates. Contribuições do Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi de História Natural e Etnografia, Belém do Pará, Brazil.

Gregorin, R. 2006. Taxonomy and geographic variation of species of the genus Alouatta Lacépède (Primates, Atelidae) in Brazil. Revista Brasileira de Zoologia 23(1): 64–144.

Groves C. 2001. Primate Taxonomy. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.

Groves, C.P. 2005. Order Primates. In: D.E. Wilson and D.M. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of the World, pp. 111-184. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Guedes, P. G., Borges-Nojosa, D. M., da Silva, J. A. G. and Salles, L. O. 2000. Novos registros de Alouatta no estado do Ceará (Primates, Atelidae). Neotropical Primates 8(1): 29–30.

Hill, W. C. O. 1962. Primates Comparative Anatomy and Taxonomy V. Cebidae Part B. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Langguth, A., Teixeira, D. M., Mittermeier, R. A. and Bonvicino, C. 1987. The red-handed howler monkey in northeastern Brazil. Primate Conservation 8: 36-39.

Oliveira, M. M. de, Ferreira, J. C., Mota, G. L. S. and Soares, S. G. 2004. Mapeamento das Áreas de Ocorrência de Alouatta belzebul ululata – Etapa Ceará. CPB-Centro de Proteção de Primatas Brasileiros, João Pessoa, Paraíba.

Citation: de Oliveira, M.M. & Kierulff, M.C.M. 2008. Alouatta ululata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T918A13094890. . Downloaded on 28 June 2017.
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