Preuss’s guenon (Cercopithecus preussi)

Bioko Preuss's guenon moving through forest
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Preuss’s guenon fact file

Preuss’s guenon description

GenusCercopithecus (1)

The most distinguishing feature of this monkey is the white patch of fur that forms a fluffy ‘bib’ on its face (4). Preuss’s guenon has a long, curling tail and grey or black coat, with a brown saddle-shaped area of fur on its back (4) (5). Typically, male guenons are larger than females (6).

Also known as
Preuss’s monkey.
Mono De Preuss.
Average body length: 47.7 cm (2)

Preuss’s guenon biology

The social group of Preuss’s guenon consists of two to twelve individuals, usually comprising just one adult male, while the rest are females and their young (1); only rarely is there more than one male in a group. Preuss’s guenon is a polygynous species, meaning that each male mates with more than one female (7). It is the female that initiates mating, seeking the attention of a male and letting the male know she is ready to mate. A female gives birth to only a single young at a time (7).

Living in social groups dictates a need for communication, which Preuss’s guenon does using both visual and vocal signals, such as the low-frequency, territorial ‘boom call’ of the male (7). The visual displays are typically threatening, and include staring and opening the mouth with the teeth covered, head-bobbing accompanied by staring, and yawning whilst showing the teeth (7).

The diet of this primate consists primarily of fruit, mature tree leaves and, preferentially, leaf shoots (8), but it is also known to eat seeds and flowers (1).  


Preuss’s guenon range

Preuss’s guenon is found in western Cameroon, eastern Nigeria and on Bioko Island (Equatorial Guinea). Two subspecies are recognised: Cercopithecus preussi preussi occurs on the mainland while Cercopithecus preussi insularis is restricted to Bioko Island (1).


Preuss’s guenon habitat

Preuss’s guenon occurs primarily above 800 metres, where it is found in montane and submontane forest, although it can also be found at lower altitudes in some areas, such as Bioko Island (1)


Preuss’s guenon status

Classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List (1) and listed on Appendix II of CITES (3). Subspecies: the Cameroon Preuss’ monkey (C. p. preussi) and the Bioko Preuss’ guenon (C. p. insularis) are listed as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Endangered


Preuss’s guenon threats

Over the past 27 years, populations of Preuss’s guenon have decreased by an incredible 50 percent (1), due to a combination of habitat loss and hunting. As a result of farming, fire, and the collection of wood for fuel, little of Cameroon’s montane forest remains. Preuss’s guenon is particularly vulnerable to hunting due to its fairly large size and its semi-terrestrial habits; spending time on land increases its risk of being killed. Hunting of this species is a particular problem on the island of Bioko (1).


Preuss’s guenon conservation

A significant hindrance to the conservation of this species is that no montane forest in the Cameroon highlands is currently protected; this situation needs to urgently change, as it is the most critical remaining habitat for Preuss’s guenon. However, there are several national parks elsewhere in this monkeys’ range including Banyang Hbo Forest in Cameroon, Cross River National Park in Nigeria, and Pico Basil National Park on Bioko Island (1). This species is also listed in the African Convention as Class B, which means it is protected, but may be hunted, captured, collected or killed if special authorisation is given (9).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

Find out more

To learn about conservation efforts on Bioko Island see:

 To find out about the conservation of primates around the world see:



This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:

This species information was authored as part of the Arkive and Universities Scheme.


Montane forest
Forest occurring in the montane zone, a zone of cool upland slopes below the tree line dominated by large evergreen trees.
Animals in which males have more than one female partner.
Submontane forest
Forest occurring at elevations just below those of montane forest.
A population usually restricted to a geographical area that differs from other populations of the same species, but not to the extent of being classified as a separate species.
Describes an animal, a pair of animals or a colony that occupies and defends an area.


  1. IUCN Red List (March, 2010)
  2. Groves, C.P. (2001) Primate Taxonomy. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington DC.
  3. CITES (March, 2010)
  4. Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program (November, 2009)
  5. Gautier, J.P., Drubbel, R.V. and Deleporte, P. (2002) Phylogeny of the Cercopithecus lhoesti group revisted: combining multiple character sets. In: Glenn, M.E. and Cords, M. (Eds.) The Guenons: Diversity and Adaptation in African Monkeys. Kluwer Academics, New York. 
  6. Ankel-Simons, F. (2000) Primate Anatomy: an Introduction. Academic Press, San Diego, California.
  7. Beeson, M., Tame, S., Keaning, E. and Lea, S.E.G. (2008) Food habits of guenons (Cercopithecus species) in Afro-montane forests. African Journal of Ecology, 34(2): 202-210.
  8. The Primata (November, 2009)
  9. African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (November, 2009)

Image credit

Bioko Preuss's guenon moving through forest  
Bioko Preuss's guenon moving through forest

© Barbara Johnston, Philadelphia Inquirer / BBPP

Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program
Arcadia University
450 S. Easton Rd.


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