Agile mangabey

The agile mangabey (Cercocebus agilis) is an Old World monkey of the white-eyelid mangabey group found in swampy forests of Central Africa in Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Gabon, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, and DR Congo.[1] Until 1978, it was considered a subspecies of the Tana River mangabey (C. galeritus).[3] More recently, the golden-bellied mangabey (C. chrysogaster) has been considered a separate species instead of a subspecies of the agile mangabey.[1]

Agile mangabey[1]
Cercocebus agilis.jpg
Agile mangabey illustration
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Suborder: Haplorhini
Infraorder: Simiiformes
Family: Cercopithecidae
Genus: Cercocebus
C. agilis
Binomial name
Cercocebus agilis
Agile Mangabey area.png
Agile mangabey range

Physical characteristicsEdit

The agile mangabey has a short, overall dull olive-grey pelage.[4] The bare skin of the face and feet is blackish.[5] Males are 51–65 centimeters (20–26 inches) in length and weigh about 7–13 kilograms (15–29 lb), while the smaller females are 44–55 centimeters (17–22 inches) and weigh 5–7 kilograms (11–15 lb).[4]


Similar to other mangabeys, they are diurnal.[3] Although generally arboreal, they do spend a significant portion of their time (12–22%) on the ground,[5] especially during the dry season. It is typically more commonly heard than seen,[4] and males have a loud, species-specific call that is believed to be used to space themselves out.[3] Other calls are also used to maintain group cohesion and warn of predators.[5] Group size can be as high as 18 members, led by a single adult male. Group meetings can be friendly and may involve exchange of members. Adult males not in groups often travel singly.[4]


Fruit makes up a major portion of the agile mangabey diet. They are known to eat at least 42 different species of fruit.[5] Their tooth structure and powerful jaws allows them to open tough pods and fruits that many other monkeys can not access.[5] Agile mangabeys eat from a number of dominant swamp-forest trees, including dika nuts and sugar plums, when they are fruiting.[4] They also eat fresh leaf shoots from raffia palms when fruits are scarce. Grasses and mushrooms,[4] as well as insects, other invertebrates, bird's eggs and some vertebrate prey, such as rodents, are also eaten.[5]


Agile mangabeys are known to contract T-cell leukemia virus, similar to the leukemia virus that infects humans.[6] There is also evidence that they contract Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), a virus related to human HIV that infects certain apes and monkeys.[7] They have rarely been kept in captivity,[5] with only three individuals held in Species360 registered institutions in July 2008.[8]


  1. ^ a b c Groves, C. P. (2005). Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 153. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. OCLC 62265494.
  2. ^ Hart, J.; Butynski, T. M. & Kingdon, J. (2008). "Cercocebus agilis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2008: e.T136615A4318592. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T136615A4318592.en.
  3. ^ a b c Rowe, Noel (1996). The Pictorial Guide to the Living Primates. p. 144. ISBN 0-9648825-0-7.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Kingdon, Jonathan (1997). The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals. p. 44. ISBN 0-12-408355-2.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "Agile Mangabey - Mangabey Species Survival Plan". Archived from the original on 2008-08-28. Retrieved 2008-07-19.
  6. ^ "Simian T-Cell Leukemia Virus (STLV) Infection in Wild Primate Populations in Cameroon: Evidence for Dual STLV Type 1 and Type 3 Infection in Agile Mangabeys (Cercocebus agilis)". Archived from the original on 8 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-09.
  7. ^ "Risk to Human Health from a Plethora of Simian Immunodeficiency Viruses in Primate Bushmeat". Retrieved 2008-07-09.
  8. ^ "Cercocebus agilis agilis - International Species Information System Abstract". Retrieved 2008-07-19.