Allies – Samangos and Vervets

samango monkey, vervet monkey, chlorocebus, cercopithe cus, sykes, blue monkey, darwin primate group,

Not wanting to disturb the samango and vervet monkeys (Cercopithecus albogularis labiatus and Chlorocebus pygerythrus pygerythrus) crossing the paddock to reach the Forest Fig (Ficus craterostoma), we sat over fifty metres away with our cameras. 

Unable to get clear photographs from such a distance, I slowly moved closer, set up the tripod and looked through the viewfinder. Almost instantly an adult male vervet perched in the highest tree began to warn the others, convincing me to move back again.

When observing this troop initially, their behaviour suggested they had seen the darker side of humans, causing them to be particularly fearful. This factor makes it difficult to get close enough for great photos.  

 A man herded two horses and two donkeys into the paddock which was now completely devoid of any monkey presence.

We waited.

They returned.

Both vervets and samangos headed across the open paddock towards the fig tree. 

samango monkey, vervet monkey, chlorocebus, cercopithecus, darwin primate group, samango monkey research project
Vervets and Samangos cross the open area between the forest and fig tree.

The vervet monkey inhabits savanna, riverine woodland, coastal forest mountains and is often seen on the edge of indigenous forest where their range my overlap with the range of samango monkeys. Although the Samango monkey is often described as South Africa’s only primate “found exclusively in forests”, sightings of them foraging on the ground are not rare.

The samango troop and vervet troop pictured here are often seen in close proximity to each other at our study site which is made up of both indigenous forest and agricultural land.

samango monkey, vervet monkey, chlorocebus, cercopithe cus, sykes, blue monkey, darwin primate group,

 The vervet monkey has a multi-male social system in comparison to the samango monkey’s one male social system hence one reason for the two troops foraging together may be that the multi-male vervet troop brings added protection to the samango troop which consists of adult females, one male and their youngsters.

samango monkey, vervet monkey, darwin primate group, samango monkey research project, kzn, chlorocebus, cercopithecus, sykes, blue monkey,
A samango and vervet monkey in the paddock.

More can be viewed on the relationship between the two species at the following links:

https://samangomonkey.wordpress.com/2018/06/25/samangos-vervets-and-bushbuck-interspecies-relationships/

https://samangomonkey.wordpress.com/2017/11/22/friends-in-high-places-the-vervet-samango-relationship/

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