Dec 16

Five monkey species featured on ARKive will be highlighted today on BBC Radio 4’s The Infinite Monkey Cage Podcast with Simon Watt of the Ugly Animal Preservation Society. The show itself is presented by Robin Ince and Brian Cox, and will focus on five of nature’s slightly more unfortunate-looking primates. Audience members will be asked to vote for their favourite ugly animal, which will then be adopted as a mascot. Good luck to all the species – although we don’t know if this slightly offensive title is one that we’d like to win!

The uglier, the better!

Malaria is an important disease in some parts of the Amazon rainforest, and it is thought that the bald-headed uakari may have evolved a bright red face as a symbol of a healthy individual. Monkeys who have contracted the disease are noticeably paler and are not chosen as sexual partners as they do not have the desired natural immunity to malaria.

Bald headed uakari image

The bigger, the better!

The elongated, pendulous nose of the male proboscis monkey is thought to amplify its mating calls, which may potentially attract more females. Female proboscis monkeys generally prefer the males with the biggest noses.

Proboscis monkey image

Does my bum look big in this?

The swollen pink bottom of the female crested black macaque looks pretty unattractive to us humans. However, this is used to advertise its fertility while it is in oestrous. Only the dominant male gets to breed with the females in their group.

Crested black macaque image

Bald from birth

The head of the Brazilian bare-faced tamarin is the only part of its body that is devoid of fur. While we know this Endangered primate isn’t the most attractive animal in the world, we think it’s actually quite cute…in an ugly way!

Brazilian bare-faced tamarin image

Colourful competitors

The thick, pink lips and pale blue eye rings of the Tonkin snub-nosed monkey give it the appearance of a little girl who has been experimenting with the contents of her mother’s makeup bag. This Critically Endangered primate was once thought to be extinct, before being rediscovered in 1989.

Tonkin snub-nosed monkey image

The Infinite Monkey Cage broadcasts today from 16:30 onwards on BBC Radio 4, and the podcast featuring the above species will be available shortly after the programme has ended.

Which of these species gets your vote?

See more photos and videos of monkeys on ARKive.

Hannah Mulvany, ARKive Content Officer.