male Proboscis monkey
|Common Name||Long-nosed Monkey and Bekantan (in Malay)|
|Range||south-east Asian island of Borneo|
The Proboscis monkey or long-nosed monkey, known as the bekantan in Malay (Nasalis larvatus), is a species of Old World monkey that is endemic to the south-east Asian island of Borneo. Etymology uncertain. May be either from Middle English monk or from Middle Low German Moneke(name of the son of Martin the Ape in Reynard the Fox) which might be a diminutive of Middle French monne which is from Old Spanish mona which is a shortening of mamona which is a variant of maimón which is from Arabic., It belongs in the monotypic genus Nasalis, although the pig-tailed langur has traditionally also been included in this genus.
The monkey also goes by the Malay name monyet belanda ("Dutch monkey"), or even orang belanda ("Dutchman"), as Indonesians remarked that the Dutch colonisers often had similarly large bellies and noses.
This species of monkey is easily identifiable because of its unusually large nose.
Taxonomy and names
Proboscis monkeys belong to the Colobinae subfamily of the Old World monkeys. The two subspecies are:
- Nasalis larvatus larvatus (Wurmb, 1787)
- Nasalis larvatus orientalis (Chasen, 1940)
However, the difference between the subspecies is small, and not all authorities recognise Lasalis larvatus orientalis.
The proboscis monkey is a large species, being one of the largest monkey species native to Asia. Only the Tibetan macaque and a few of the gray langurs can rival its size. Sexual Sexual dimorphism is pronounced in the species. Males have a head-body length of 66 to 76.2 cm (26.0 to 30.0 in) and typically weigh 16 to 22.5 kg (35 to 50 lb), with a maximum known weight of 30 kg (66 lb). Females measure 53.3 to 62 cm (21.0 to 24.4 in) in head-and-body length and weigh 7 to 12 kg (15 to 26 lb), with a maximum known mass of 15 kg (33 lb). Further adding to the dimorphism is the large nose or proboscis of the male, which can exceed 10 cm (3.9 in) in length, and hangs lower than the mouth. Nevertheless, the nose of the female is still fairly large for a primate. The proboscis monkey has a long coat; the fur on the back is bright orange, reddish brown, yellowish brown or brick-red. The underfur is light-grey, yellowish, or greyish to light-orange. The face is orange-pink. The male has a red penis with a black scrotum. Both sexes have bulging stomachs that give the monkeys what resembles a pot belly. Many of the monkeys' toes are webbed.
Proboscis monkeys generally live in groups composed of one adult male, some adult females and their offspring. All-male groups may also exist. Some individuals are solitary, mostly males. Monkey groups live in overlapping home ranges, with little territoriality, in a fission-fusion society, with groups gathering at sleeping sites as night falls. There exist bands which arise when groups come together and slip apart. Groups gather during the day and travel together, but individuals only groom and play with those in their own group. One-male groups consist of 9–19 individuals, while bands can consist of as many as 60 individuals. One-male groups typically consist of three to 12 individuals, but can contain more. Serious aggression is uncommon among monkeys but minor aggression does commonly occur. Overall, members of the same bands are fairly tolerant of each other. A linear dominance hierarchy exists between females. Males of one-male groups can stay in their groups for six to eight years. Replacements in the resident males appear to occur without serious aggression. Upon reaching adulthood, males leave their natal groups and join all-male groups. Females also sometimes leave their natal groups, perhaps to avoid infanticide or inbreeding, reduce competition for food, or elevation of their social status.
Females become sexually mature at five years old. They experience sexual swelling, which involves the genitals becoming pink or reddened. At one site, matings largely take place between February and November, while births occur between March and May. Copulations tend to last for half a minute. The male will grab the female by the ankles or torso and mount her from behind. Both sexes will encourage mating, but they are not always successful. When soliciting, both sexes will make pouted faces. In addition, males will sometimes vocalize and females will present their backsides. Mating pairs are sometimes harassed by subadults. Proboscis monkeys may also engage in mounting with no reproductive purpose, such as playful and same-sex mounting. Gestation usually last 166–200 days or slightly more. Females tend to give birth at night or in the early morning. The mothers then eat the placenta and lick their infants clean. The young begin to eat solid foods at six weeks and are weaned at seven months old. The nose of a young male grows slowly until reaching adulthood. The mother will allow other members of her group to hold her infant. When a resident male in a one-male group is replaced, the infants are at risk of infanticide.