C. aethiops -- *zoorg -- (above)
C. aethiops -- *vzoo -- (at right)

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How many species are there? Can you tell species and subspecies apart based on photographs? Are common names as distinctive as scientific names?

Chlorocebus -- Range map and taxonomic notes from amd reference below.

Placed in Cercopithecus by many authors, Chlorocebus aethiops is referred here to a separate genus, in accordance with Wilson & Reeder. This species has often been involved in taxonomic debates, which have split it into as many as four species and 21 subspecies. It includes pygerythrus, sabaeus and tantalus, and also djiamdjiamensis (Djam-djam monkey) from the Ethiopian Bale Massif. The species and subspecies listed under Old World Monkeys is duplicated here and photographic examples are shown for comparison purposes.

Photo Quality Can Make a Big Difference

It may be difficult to believe that the photographs grouped in the next two rows are of the same species. Not only does the camera equipment, light, film, skill of the photographer and photo development process all contribute to the end product, but electronic scanning equipment and art editors (enlarging or reducing size) all affect the picture you finally see. Also, photos are rarely labeled to indicate age, sex or geographic population to which the animal belongs. These comments are not meant to criticize any photo shown on this website.

  C. pygerythrus - *djuma C. pygerythrus -- *encm C. pygerythrus -- *momm C. pygerythrus -- *szg

  C. aethiops -- *dutch C. aethiops -- *afcam C. aethiops -- *momm

Webpages May Lack Signicant Information

Scientific or common names may be omitted. Is the "Black Vervet" from Northern Kenya shown here the same as C. a. rufoviridis, which lacks a common name. Based upon comments made on the webpage, the black vervets were a minority among a population of the "common East African race." Perhaps this is what is known as a "dark morph." Time to hit some reference books in search of an answer.

Kenyan Black Vervet - *sshow C. a. helvescens -- *cites C. a. rufoviridis -- *cites

Sabaeus, Tantalus or Just Plain Aethiops?

C. a. sabaeus -- *mlab C. tantalus -- *momm   and   C. sabaeus -- *wpin1

C. aethiops -- *zoorg -- (above)
C. aethiops -- *vzoo -- (at right)

There is always the possibility that a photograph or illustration may be mislabeled or attributed to the wrong subspecies. One photo was found on three different websites, but labeled as two different species. Notice how little the photos above differ from those on either side of this paragraph. Technically, all photos on this page are attributable to Chlorocebus aethiops. It is only when we consider subspecies that it would be less confusing if all these illustrations were given trinomial names.

One must always be skeptical about the identification of illustrations or photos used at websites (or in books, on TV or anywhere for that matter). In addition, one must always be aware that there may be very significant differences in coloration between males, females, juveniles and regional populations. Be sure to see the page showing Field Guide Artwork.

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