Pygathrix – Doucs/Douc langurs

Some of the most peculiarly colored monkeys

This genus encompasses three distinct species of langur monkeys commonly referred to as doucs, inhabiting the lush tropical forests of central and southern Vietnam, southern Laos, and northeastern Cambodia. These douc species, namely the red-shanked douc, black-shanked douc, and gray-shanked douc, are renowned for their striking and vibrant coloration, making them some of the most visually captivating primates in the world.

One of the most remarkable features of douc monkeys is their distinct color patterns, which vary slightly among the different species. The body of the douc appears blue-gray, adorned with intricate black-and-white bands on each ear, while the head exhibits a rich brownish hue. This unique coloration serves as effective camouflage within their forest habitat, allowing doucs to blend seamlessly into the dappled sunlight and foliage.

Doucs typically live in cohesive social groups known as troops, which can consist of up to 12 males and twice as many females. These troops exhibit complex social dynamics, with individuals engaging in various forms of social interaction and communication. While the size of douc troops can vary widely, ranging from small groups of four individuals to larger assemblies exceeding 50 members, their cooperative behaviors contribute to their overall survival and reproductive success.

In terms of diet, doucs are primarily folivorous, meaning they primarily consume leaves as their main food source. However, they also supplement their diet with fruits, flowers, seeds, and other plant materials. Their specialized digestive systems enable them to efficiently process fibrous plant matter, allowing them to extract essential nutrients from leaves and foliage.

Despite their remarkable adaptations and social structures, doucs face numerous threats to their survival, primarily stemming from habitat loss and degradation. Widespread deforestation, driven by agricultural expansion, logging, and human development, has led to the fragmentation and destruction of their forest habitats. As a result, all species of doucs in Vietnam and Laos, particularly the gray-shanked douc, are at risk of extinction.