February 10, 2015
Bleeding Heart Baboons
- as seen by -Julie Larsen Maher
Red is the color of power and passion, energy and action. A heart of red can mean romance. And gelada baboons wear their hearts on their chests.
The ruddy patch of hairless skin on a gelada’s chest changes in appearance with its reproductive readiness. For a female, a fiery red patch is a sexual cue that she is receptive to mating. A male gelada displays a heart-shaped chest patch that is more brightly colored in dominant males with greater access to reproductive females. His patch will quickly fade when he has lost his dominance status and breeding privileges within baboon society.
Native to the high plateaus of Ethiopia, geladas are social animals, maintaining reproductive units. They can withstand colder temperatures thanks to the long, heavy capes of hair that drape down their backs.
Keeping up their color and coiffure is easier in mutual grooming groups like this trio of gelada males at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo – each hopes to one day become a breeding male among the bleeding heart baboons.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Take a great photo of red in nature and submit it to the blog. In honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re celebrating the color red in this month’s assignment.
Nikon D4, Vanguard Alta Pro Aluminum Alloy Tripod