The samango monkey is South Africa's only exclusively forest dwelling primate and represents
the southernmost extent of the range of arboreal guenons in Africa. The main threats
to South Africa's forests and thus to the samango are linked to increasing land-use pressure
and increasing demands for forest resources, resulting in deforestation, degradation and
further fragmentation of irreplaceable habitats. The species belongs to the highly polytypic
Cercopithecus nictitans group which is sometimes divided into two species C. mitis and C.
albogularis. The number of subspecies of C. albogularis is also under debate and is based
only on differences in pelage colouration and thus far no genetic research has been undertaken
on South African samango monkey populations. In this study we aim to further clarify
the number of samango monkey subspecies, as well as their respective distributions in
South Africa by combining molecular, morphometric and pelage data. Overall, our study
provides the most comprehensive view to date into the taxonomic description of samango
monkeys in South Africa. Our data supports the identification of three distinct genetic entities
namely; C. a. labiatus, C. a. erythrarchus and C. a. schwarzi and argues for separate
conservation management of the distinct genetic entities defined by this study.