Pygmy monkeys

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Pygmy monkeys
Southern pygmy monkey (Miopithecus talapoin)

Southern pygmy monkey ( Miopithecus talapoin )

without rank: Old World Monkey (Catarrhini)
Superfamily : Tailed Old World Monkey (Cercopithecoidea)
Family : Vervet monkey relatives (Cercopithecidae)
Subfamily : Cheekbones monkey (Cercopithecinae)
Tribe : Vervet monkeys (Cercopithecini)
Genre : Pygmy monkeys
Scientific name
I. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire , 1842

The pygmy monkeys ( Miopithecus ) are an African primate genus from the family of the vervet monkeys (Cercopithecidae).


With a head-trunk length of 32 to 45 centimeters - plus a 36 to 53 centimeter long tail - pygmy monkeys are the smallest old world monkeys . The males weigh around 1.3 kilograms, the females 0.8 kilograms. As with many primates, the male is larger than the female. Their fur is gray-green on the top and whitish on the underside, the head round and short-nosed, the face hairless.

distribution and habitat

Pygmy monkeys live in central Africa ; its distribution area extends from Cameroon through the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Angola . Their habitat are the tropical rain or mangrove forests near the water.

Way of life

Pygmy monkeys are diurnal tree dwellers, but similar to swamp monkeys they can swim well and also look for food in the water.

These animals live in large groups of 60 to 100 animals. At night they gather on trees near the water, during the day they split up into smaller subgroups to swarm out in search of food. Groups are made up of a few sexually mature males, numerous females and their offspring. In contrast to the vervet monkeys themselves , pygmy monkeys do not have any territorial behavior. Their phonetic repertoire is also limited compared to the real monkeys.


Pygmy monkeys are omnivores; their diet consists of fruits, seeds, aquatic plants, insects, mussels, bird eggs and small vertebrates.


After a gestation period of around 160 days, the female usually gives birth to a single young between November and March. Young pygmy monkeys are born relatively large and well developed (newborns weigh over 200 grams, which is a quarter of the weight of the mother) and develop rapidly. They are already eating solid food at six weeks and are independent at three months. The highest known age of an animal in captivity was 28 years, life expectancy in the wild is unknown.


Little monkeys have numerous natural enemies such as leopards , gorse cats , golden cats , birds of prey , snakes and monitor lizards . Because they devastate plantations, they are also often hunted by humans, although pygmy monkeys are not endangered species.


Pygmy monkeys are relatively primitive representatives of the monkey-like species , in this genus only the common monkey occupies an even more basic position. In the past, all animals were grouped into one species, but more recent systematics differentiate between two species:

The Congo River forms the border between the two species .


Web links

Commons : Little Monkey  - Collection of images, videos and audio files