Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

Sooty mangabey

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Kingdom  Animalia
Order  Primates
Genus  Cercocebus
Higher classification  White-eyelid mangabey
Phylum  Chordata
Family  Cercopithecidae
Scientific name  Cercocebus atys
Rank  Species
Sooty mangabey pinprimatewiscedufssheetsimages440medjpg

Similar  White‑eyelid mangabey, Primate, Collared mangabey, Crested mangabey, Grey‑cheeked mangabey

On location the sooty mangabey

The sooty mangabey (Cercocebus atys) is an Old World monkey found in forests from Senegal in a margin along the coast down to Ghana. While overall rated as Near Threatened, the eastern race lunulatus, also known as the white-crowned, white-naped or white-collared mangabey (leading to confusion with the collared mangabey), is considered Endangered by the IUCN. The White-collared mangabey was declared its own species by the IUCN in 2016, but it retains the endangered conservation status.


Habitat and ecology

The sooty mangabey is native to tropical West Africa, being found in Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast. It lives in both old growth and secondary forests as well as in flooded, dry, swamp, mangrove, and gallery forests. The primate is arboreal and diurnal. They are omnivores whose diet includes primarily fruits and seeds, sometimes feeding on small animals. They live in social groups of four to twelve individuals, but occasionally groups as large as 95 individuals have been recorded.


There are two distinctive subspecies of this mangabey, and it is possible they should be considered separate species. Both were formerly considered subspecies of a widespread Cercocebus torquatus.

  • Cercocebus atys atys (west of the Sassandra River)
  • White-collared (or White-crowned) mangabey, Cercocebus atys lunulatus (east of the Sassandra River).
  • Disease

    Sooty mangabeys are naturally infected with a strain of Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV), known as SIVsmm. Due to extensive human-mangabey contact in sub-Saharan Africa, SIVsmm has jumped from this species into humans on multiple occasions, resulting in HIV-2 virus. The HIV-1 strain by contrast came from the common chimpanzee strain of SIV.

    The sooty mangabey can also contract leprosy, as can humans, the nine-banded armadillo, the common chimpanzee, and the crab-eating macaque.


    The sooty mangabey is believed to be decreasing in numbers as its forest habitat is degraded, with trees being felled for firewood and timber, and it is hunted for food in some parts of its range. It is more terrestrial than some of its relatives and sometimes raids farms, which brings it into conflict with humans. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has assessed its conservation status as "near-threatened".


    Sooty mangabey Wikipedia