The blue monkey is a medium-sized monkey with an average length of 55 centimetres and males can weigh up to 8 kilograms. These animals can live between 15 and 20 years in the wild but their lifespan is extended up to 30 years if raised in captivity.It has earned this unusual moniker due to the sparse fur on its face which sometimes give it a slightly blue sheen.
The blue monkey is like some other primates in that it is mostly herbivorous rather than omnivorous as it will not eat meat. It prefers numerous types of fruits and figs which make up nearly half of their diet. They have also been known to consume twigs, leaves, insects and small invertebrates.
Blue monkeys are found where most other primates are found i.e in the warm forests of equatorial Africa. They are very populous in Central and Eastern Africa where they can be found in large numbers in the Upper Congo River Basin and the East African Rift region. They can also be found in Angola and Zambia.
The blue monkey prefers evergreen and bamboo forests where it can use the high canopy for protection as well as for a food source. The blue monkey needs particularly humid conditions and these monkeys are to be found in areas where there is an ample supply of water.
As with all old world monkeys, the blue monkey is highly gregarious within its own species. Playing and grooming are two well-known social skills that they regularly practice. It is interesting to note is that most groups contain many females but only one alpha male. The other males will leave the group when they reach maturity in search of creating their own family group. This leaves the remaining male to court the females within his own group. The male monkeys are very territorial, so younger males that leave the group are rarely welcomed back and may even be chased away from surrounding areas. As exhibited in other primate species, an outsider may challenge an existing dominant male of another group. If the challenger succeeds, he will then become head of that group. This increases his chances for survival as well as gives him the chance to produce his own offspring.
This species is not considered endangered and actually in areas where they are rife they can be considered a pest by farmers. Nonetheless, as their natural habitat is encroached upon by civilisation, the numbers of this species may decline in the future.