In an attempt to explain why forest monkeys have a one-male group
type of social structure in an environment of apparently rich food
supply, the food resources, feeding behaviour and ranging behaviour
of the samango monkey was studied in forest on the Eastern Transvaal
The taxonomy of the samango monkey in southern africa is discussed, as well as it•s relationship to other forest Cercopithecines. The
adaptations and limitations of the animal •s intrinsic characteristics
in a forest environment are discussed.
By a detailed analysis of climatic, microclimatic, phytosociological
and phenological data the nature of the habitat as a whole was
enumerated. Climatic parameters of the study area were compared to
other areas inhabited by close relations of the samango monkey and
the study area was found to be highly unstable in comparison to
them. The forest itself was found to exercise a buffering effect
on all meteors examined, thus modulating this instability to a degree.
The forest areas used by the monkeys were of mixed dominance
and could be divided by qualitative methods into distinct vegetational
zones. Phenologically the trees were found to be highly irregular
in time, duration and amount of production of a given phytophase.
Almost all identified species in the study area were found
to be used by the monkeys as a source of food. Several samango food
items were weighed and measured and their food values determined.
The effect of palatability and ease of obtaining and preparing food
items is discussed. From this enumeration of the forest as a habitat
it was found that contrary to popular belief forest is in fact a
highly irregular and variable provider of food, indicating that the
monkeys may indeed suffer from a form of food stress, albeit not in
the same way that a gelada baboon does.
In the last section the response of the monkeys in their social structure,
ranging behaviour and activity patterns is discussed. Aspects
of all of these were seen to show adaptations to this variable and uncertain