howler monkey

n.
any of a genus (Alouatta, family Cebidae) of large New World monkeys with a loud, howling cry and a long, prehensile tail: occasionally called howling monkey

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Any of several species of slow-moving tropical American monkeys (genus Alouatta) noted for their roaring cries, which carry over a distance of 2–3 mi (3–5 km).

Five widely distributed species are the largest New World monkeys, generally reaching lengths of 16–28 in. (40–70 cm), excluding the 20–30-in. (50–75-cm) tail. Howlers are stoutly built and bearded, with a hunched appearance and a thickly furred, prehensile tail. Their hair is long and thick and, depending on the species, black, brown, or red. Howlers live in groups in territories mapped out by howling matches with neighbouring clans. They feed primarily on leaves.

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 any of several tropical American monkeys (monkey) noted for their roaring cries. Several species of howlers are widely distributed through Central and South America. These are the largest New World monkeys and generally attain lengths of about 40–70 cm (16–28 inches), excluding the 50–75-cm tail. Howlers are stoutly built bearded monkeys with a hunched appearance and thickly furred prehensile tails that are naked on the underside of the tip to afford a better grip. The hair is long and thick and, depending on species, is typically black, brown, or red. Howlers are characterized by expansion of the hyoid bone into a large shell-like organ in the throat that gives resonance to the voice. In connection with the enlarged hyoid, howlers have a large throat, protruding jaws, and high sloping faces.

      Howlers live in groups within territories whose boundaries are mapped out by howling matches (animal communication) with neighbouring clans. Their voices carry for 3 to 5 km (2 to 3 miles) and can be heard at dusk, at dawn, and during rainstorms. Howlers are slow-moving monkeys that commonly sit on the topmost branches, rarely descending to the ground. They feed primarily on leaves. When on the move, howlers progress in orderly groups usually led by an old male. Births are usually single and occur at any time of year.

      Because of their diet, temperament, and other factors, howlers are difficult to maintain in captivity. The red howler (A. seniculus) has the largest distribution, but it is heavily hunted in some areas for its meat. Other howler species are critically endangered within parts of their ranges. The Alouatta genus is one of several within the family Atelidae, which also includes woolly monkeys (woolly monkey), spider monkeys (spider monkey), and woolly spider monkeys (woolly spider monkey). All are found only in the Western Hemisphere.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • howler monkey — n. any of a genus (Alouatta, family Cebidae) of large New World monkeys with a loud, howling cry and a long, prehensile tail: occasionally called howling monkey …   English World dictionary

  • howler monkey — noun monkey of tropical South American forests having a loud howling cry • Syn: ↑howler • Derivationally related forms: ↑howl (for: ↑howler) • Hypernyms: ↑New World monkey, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

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