Common names are not officially defined. They are based on everyday conversational language and may differ by country, region, profession, community, or other factors. As a result, it is not unusual for a species to have more than one common name.

Scientific names are in Latin and they are written in italics. They are standardized and for everyone, no matter what language you may speak. They are bound by a formal naming system, called binominal nomenclature, that has strict rules. Scientific names prevent misidentification. Those names only change if a species, or its genus, is officially redesignated by experts.

Mandrills are native to the west coast of Central Africa. These striking primates reside in the tropical rainforests, forested upland slopes, dense secondary forests, and thick bush of southwestern Cameroon, western Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, southern Nigeria, and southwestern Congo.  

  • Colorful and magnificent, mandrills are the world’s largest monkeys
  • The word “mandrill” means “man-ape”
  • Males are more vibrantly colored than females. Differences in color between genders within a species is called sexual dichromatism, an aspect of sexual dimorphism which recognizes differences in appearance
  • Mandrills have built-in pouches in their cheeks that conveniently allow them to store snacks now and eat later
  • Ground-dwelling, they retire to trees at night for safety
There is a high risk of them becoming endangered in the wild

The greatest threat against mandrills is hunting, which has led to a dramatic decline in the population. In this lucrative and illicit business, hunters use high-powered rifles and dogs to take down these colorful primates, whose meat is considered a delicacy. This is called “bushmeat.” Deforestation is also taking a toll on the mandrill’s habitat.


  1. Mandrills are wild animals with huge canine teeth. They can inflict a great deal of damage and harm.
  2. Caged wild animals express their frustration at being caged violently.
  3. For a baby to be taken from his or her mother for the pet trade, the mother must be killed.
  4. Mandrills are a threatened species. There are strict regulations against trading in and keeping threatened species.
  5. Mandrills belong with other mandrills in Africa. They and their habitats must be protected, not exploited.


Visit the MANDRILLS Primate Species Profile

 Copyright © New England Primate Conservancy 2019. You may freely use and share these learning activities for educational purposes. 
For questions or comments, e-mail us at [email protected].