Monday, December 9, 2019

New MonkeySee (part 2): Monkeys and prosimians at Xenon Bloom

In part 1 of this series, we introduced the new MonkeySee workflow. Here in part 2, we visit the first live MonkeySee workflow for the Xenon Bloom site, a mixed savannah and woodland habitat in West Africa. Let’s have a look at the monkey and prosimian species you can watch and learn about at Xenon Bloom. 

Category: Baboons

Guinea baboons (Papio papio) are the enthusiastic stars of the Xenon Bloom show. They are often seen in bigger troops and have a rich repertoire of social behaviors and vocalizations. Just go to Chimp&See and check out some special greeting rituals and other interesting aspects of their social life. We were very excited to see “play swimming” of juveniles as most primates are known to avoid getting wet.

Guinea baboons have thick, light reddish- to greenish-brown fur. Their faces are hairless, with purplish-black skin and the squared, a bit dog-like muzzle that is typical of baboons. Their rumps are bare and pinkish in color. Males have a mane, though sometimes subtle. Females can display bright pink swelling. The newborn infants have a considerably darker color than adults.
The Xenon Bloom site is situated where the geographic ranges of Guinea and olive baboons meet. Until now, we did only see Guinea baboons, but might encounter here olive baboons, too.

Category: Chlorocebus

The Green monkey (Chlorocebus sabaeus) is a medium-sized and semi-terrestrial monkey with light golden fur on the head, back and tail, and lighter gray or white fur on the chest and legs. The face and ears are dark, though lighter in younger individuals

Category: Colobus

We did not actually expect to see colobus monkeys in this rather open habitat. But surprisingly, there has been a King colobus in several videos already. The King colobus (Colobus ploykomos) is a species of Western black-and-white colobus. It has a black coat of rather long fur, especially on the back. The face is black, with a halo of short white fur around it that extends down the throat and chest, and the on the shoulders. The long tail is all white.

The surprise guest - a King colobus - in the back and a female Guinea baboon in the foreground

Category: Patas Monkey

The Patas monkey (Erythrocebus patas) is my personal favorite. Patas monkeys occupy exclusively the savannah grass- and interspersed woodlands. They almost never venture into closed forest habitat. It is the fastest-running primate and normally seen on the ground.

Patas monkeys are bright reddish-brown from the top of their head down the back of their body and their long slender tail. The face, chest and legs are a light to medium gray. They usually have a distinctive black line of fur at the brow line that may extend to the ears on either side. Males are much larger, with more dramatic coloration and a mane.

Category: Prosimians

Prosimians are not monkeys, but belong to a more primitive group of primates, along with lemurs. We use this new category for the nocturnal galagos and pottos


Galagos (genus Otolemur),  also called bushbabies are very small nocturnal primates. As many animals active at night, they have large eyes that glow in our infrared night footage. They have round ears and a rather bushy, long tail. They can be seen climbing, but are actually some formidable jumpers.

Potto (Perodicticus potto) 

The potto is another type of prosimian, nocturnal like the galago, but larger. It has a short tail, thick fur, large round eyes and lobster-claw like hands that it uses to grasp branches. It climbs slowly through the tree canopy, rather than jumping, and is rarely, if ever, on the ground. It will be a surprise when we actually see a potto at Xenon Bloom.

Xenon Bloom's MonkeySee classification interface lists some other species that might be seen here, but still haven't. Watch out for sooty mangabeys, red colobus, or Campbell's mona monkeys as well.

The primate descriptions in this post are based on the comprehensive Monkey Guide created by Chimp&See citsci moderator Kristeena Sigler.

Check out MonkeySee at Chimp&See and enjoy amazing primate clips from this beautiful West African landscape!