HOWLER

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Howler Magazine - - & Adventure Travel -

Howler mon­keys are the largest of the New World mon­keys, com­pris­ing sev­eral dis­tinct species through­out the trop­ics of Cen­tral and South Amer­ica.

The Ecuado­rian man­tled howler is the sub­species rec­og­nized in Costa Rica. These mon­keys live in troops of up to 40 in­di­vid­u­als, al­though most groups are smaller than this.

Male howlers are nor­mally larger than fe­males, with the abil­ity to vo­cal­ize over much greater dis­tances in their heav­ily forested habi­tat. The howl­ing of males can be heard from two to three miles away un­der the right con­di­tions.

Howler troops sus­tain healthy pop­u­la­tions by avoid­ing in­breed­ing to a large ex­tent. This is ac­com­plished by chas­ing away most young mem­bers as they ma­ture, en­sur­ing the in­flux of an­i­mals from un­re­lated groups. Mat­ing can take place any­time through­out the year and fe­males nor­mally give birth to one in­fant.

Howler mon­keys are rel­a­tively in­ac­tive, spend­ing most of their time in the trees sleep­ing, eat­ing and so­cial­iz­ing. Their low-en­ergy diet con­sists pri­mar­ily of leaves most of the year, with fruit mak­ing up a smaller per­cent­age of nutri­tion. The leaves and fruit of the fi­cus tree tend to be pre­ferred. Flow­ers also make up a sig­nif­i­cant part of their diet, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing the dry sea­son.

Mor­tal­ity is high among howlers, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing the first year of life, which only about 30 per­cent of ju­ve­niles sur­vive. Be­yond that, how­ever, howlers have a life ex­pectancy of 25 years.

De­spite the de­struc­tion of their habi­tat, and col­lec­tion for the an­i­mal trade as well as food, these mon­keys are do­ing well. This is due to their adapt­abil­ity to change and min­i­mal liv­ing space re­quire­ments.

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