Know Your Primate: Monday Edition

Order: Primates
Suborder: Haplorrhini
Family: Hylobatidae
Genus: Hylobates
Species: Hylobates klossii
Common Name: Kloss’s Gibbon, Mentawai Gibbon.
Depending on who you talk to there four genera (Nomascus, Symphalangus, Bunopithecus, and Hylobates) within the family Hylobatidae. There are a number of differences between the genera (anatomical, pelage, and chromosomal). Today’s primate is an interesting member of Hylobates.


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Once upon a time, Kloss’s Gibbon was considered to be intermediate between gibbons and siamangs due to the webbing in their toes and their all black coloration. They are native to the Mentawai Islands and parts of Sumatra and Indonesia. Like most gibbons the have long arms and legs but are otherwise shortbodied. They weigh about twelve pounds and are about 25 inches in length with the female being slightly larger than the male. They are monogamous and highly territorial. Like other gibbons they defend their territory, in part, by vocalizations and you can find example here (click on the “Sound Gallery” tab to the left then on Hylobates klossii). The females seem to have longer, more intricate calls than males. Social groups consist of the mated pair plus several offspring. They eat fruit, primarily figs, flowers, small vertebrates, insect, etc. and are diurnal. In turn, they are preyed upon by leopards, large snakes, and large birds of prey.
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6 Responses

  1. hooray! one of my favorite primates. Anyone who hasn’t seen a video of a gibbon swinging through the trees should go find one. They’re amazing.

  2. I recall a video of one harrassing a pair of tiger cubs.

  3. Alan – Yup, that one shows up on a Google video search. The site I linked to in the post has a large number of video and sound clips, for those who are interested.
    llewelly – glad you liked it. I haven’t done that many extant apes yet. Mainly because there is so much info on chimps, gorillas, orangs, gibbons and siamangs and I feel a little guilty whittling it down for the length of the posts in this series.

  4. Alan – Yup, that one shows up on a Google video search. The site I linked to in the post has a large number of video and sound clips, for those who are interested.
    llewelly – glad you liked it. I haven’t done that many extant apes yet. Mainly because there is so much info on chimps, gorillas, orangs, gibbons and siamangs and I feel a little guilty whittling it down for the length of the posts in this series.

  5. “Native to the Mentawai islands and parts of Sumatra, and Indonesia”??
    It’s a charming primate, but Sumatra and the Mentawais are themselves parts of Indonesia, so this reads a bit oddly.

  6. That is a good point…

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