Red-shanked douc Facts
- The descriptive term of Red-shanked douc serves as the accepted common name for a most remarkable species of primate. In scientific circles, however, this fabulous animal remains better known by the hard to pronounce name of Pygathrix nemaeus.
- But, regardless of which name one uses to refer to it, one fact stands out about the creature. That statement has to do with its unique appearance. In point of fact, many consider this marvel of Nature to be among the most colorful of all known primates.
- Due to the comparative remoteness of its native habitat, it has only been studied in modern times. More precisely, before the year 1967 this magnificent creature remained completely unstudied. As a result, even now some details about it remain unknown.
- The limited information that is available about the beautiful Red-shanked douc, however, is concerning. As a result, the IUCN currently lists it as Endangered. This unfortunate status appears on the organization’s Red List of Threatened Species.
- Firstly, the known population of the species only numbers about 1,300 individuals. Secondly, its native range makes it vulnerable to habitat loss. Finally, both these factors render it especially vulnerable to the threat posed by the effects of climate change.
Red-shanked douc Physical Description
The remarkable red-shanked douc shares many attributes with its related species. Among these is the fact that it evolved a relatively long, slender body shape. Plus, like those same relatives, and indeed many species, it also displays a moderate degree of sexual dimorphism.
In its case, this principle manifests itself in terms of sheer physical size. As a result, the males of the fascinating creature attain a greater body length than their female counterparts. However, the degree of average difference in length actually equates to less than 10%.
Males reach an average head and body length of about 24 in (61 cm). The female, meanwhile, averages around 21.5 in (54.5 cm) in length. Among both genders, the tail adds an extra 22 – 30 in (56 – 76 cm). Males further average 24 lb (11 kg), and females 18.6 lb (8.4 kg).
But the coloring itself remains the most distinctive characteristic of the Red-shanked douc. For starters, the back and stomach present a gray color. Yet the lower legs show a deep red, while the feet and hands appear black. But the upper legs and forearms display a white color.
The face has the most striking appearance. Its skin appears yellowish-orange, along with the ears. The eyelids show a light powder-blue shade. Plus, the eyes have an almond shape, and the nose remains quite small. Finally, long white whiskers grow on the chin and cheeks.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Primates
- Family: Cercopithecidae
- Genus: Pygathrix
- Species: P. nemaeus
Red-shanked douc Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Quite unfortunately, the confirmed range of habitation of the marvelous Red-shanked douc remains very limited. That’s because it appears to only live in a very small section of Indochina. More precisely, the animal lives in parts of Vietnam and southern areas of Laos.
But, this may not be its only area of habitation in Asia. That’s due to a currently unresolved situation. To the hopeful surprise of many, sightings of it have been reported in northeastern Cambodia, as well. For the moment, though, these sightings remain unconfirmed.
Within its given range, though, it seems to be relatively adaptable to differing habitats. That holds true since individuals appear in areas of both mountain and lowland areas. Sightings also take place in primary, secondary, and also partially deciduous forests.
But, in all areas it inhabits, certain preferences predominate. The magnificent Red-shanked douc appears almost exclusively in the middle and upper regions of the forest canopy. The beautiful mammal rarely descends to the ground, since it acquires water through its food.
The remarkable species of mammal evolved as a vegetarian, like most related creatures. In its case, that diet mainly consists of various leaves high in fiber. It does nonetheless occasionally consume small quantities of seeds, bamboo shoots, buds, flowers, and fruit.
It also evolved a diurnal pattern of behavior. The primate also spends the vast majority of its life in the canopy. There, and also like others of its kind, it lives as a social animal. Groups typically number 4 -15 individuals. Groupings of as many as 50 have been seen, though.