Tantalus Monkey (Chlorocebus tantalus)


Tantalus Monkey up a tree
biletskiy / Envato

The Tantalus monkey, scientifically known as Chlorocebus tantalus, is an Old World monkey endemic to Africa, with its range spanning from Ghana to Sudan. Initially described as a subspecies of the grivet (Chlorocebus aethiops), the Tantalus monkey has since been recognized as a distinct species within the Chlorocebus genus.


Man with monkey
Edovideo / Envato

The Tantalus monkey is characterized by its medium-sized stature and striking physical features. It bears a greenish-golden coat, with a contrasting white ventrum that exhibits a subtle blue tinge in its abdominal region. These distinctive colorations set it apart from similar species within the Chlorocebus genus, such as the grivet.


Monkey in the wild
MatthewWilliams-Ellis / Envato

The Tantalus monkey is primarily found in tropical central Africa, with its native range encompassing countries including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, and Democratic Republic of the Congo. It also extends into Sudan, Uganda, and northwestern Kenya. These regions serve as vital habitats for sustaining Tantalus monkey populations, contributing to the species’ distribution and population density.

Habitat Preferences

The Tantalus monkey exhibits a remarkable adaptability to diverse habitats, thriving in savannahs, open woodlands, and forest-grassland mosaics. Additionally, it can be found in montane, riverine, and gallery forests, showcasing its ability to inhabit a wide range of ecosystems. These habitats provide essential resources for the Tantalus monkey’s survival, including food sources, shelter, and social structures critical for its well-being.

As a renowned conservation scientist, I emphasize the importance of understanding the Tantalus monkey’s unique characteristics, distribution, and habitat preferences to inform effective conservation strategies aimed at preserving this remarkable species and its natural environment.

Facts About Tantalus monkey

  • The Tantalus monkey (Chlorocebus tantalus) is an Old World monkey found in Africa, ranging from Ghana to Sudan.
  • They live in large, male-dominant hierarchical groups, with several males and females, and groups can be as large as 70 individuals.
  • Tantalus monkeys are diurnal and largely terrestrial, spending around 20-25% of their time feeding.
  • This species is listed in CITES Appendix II, which regulates international trade in specimens of the species to ensure their survival.
  • The Tantalus monkey was originally described as a subspecies of the vervet monkey (Chlorocebus pygerythrus) before being recognized as a distinct species.
  • They are known for their distinctive vocalizations, which play a crucial role in communication within their social groups.
  • Tantalus monkeys are primarily herbivorous, feeding on leaves, fruits, seeds, and flowers, but they may also consume insects and small animals.
  • This species exhibits sexual dimorphism, with males typically being larger than females.
  • The Tantalus monkey is an important seed disperser in its ecosystem, playing a role in the maintenance of plant diversity.
  • They are adaptable to various habitats, including forests, woodlands, savannas, and riverine areas.

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