Class: Animals with Milk Glands (Mammalia)
Subclass: True Mammals (Eutheria)
Order: First Order Mammals (Primatea)
The Proboscis Monkey (Nasalis larvatus) sometimes known as “the Jerard or Abu” in America. In native lands it is formally termed the Bekantan in Indonesian and colloquially the Monyet Belanda in Indonesian and the Malay dialect [literally: “Dutchman monkey”]. In English it can be referred to as Nasalis Gerardis and the Long-nosed Monkey.
Previous biologists termed the Nastalis Lavartus the Nasalis capistratus (Kerr in 1792), Nasalis nasica (Lacépède in 1799) and Nasalis recurvus by Vigors & Horsfield in 1828.
The Nasalis Larvartus is a reddish-brown arboreal (tree-dwelling) Old World monkey that is endemic to the South-East Asian island of Kalimantan commonly known in English as Borneo. The Nasalis Lavartus belongs in the monotypic genus ‘Nasalis, although the Pig-tailed Langur has traditionally also been included in this genus – a treatment still preferred by some.
A distinctive trait of this monkey is the male’s large protruding proboscis or nose, from which it takes its name. The big nose is thought to be used to attract females and is a characteristic exclusively of the male growing up to 15 cm (7 inches) in length. The females also have big noses relative to other monkey species. Besides attracting mates, the nose serves as a resonating chamber, amplifying their “honking” warning calls. When the animal becomes agitated its nose swells with blood, making warning calls louder and more intense.
The adult Proboscis Monkey has a reddish-brown torso and gray limbs (Bennett & Gombek, 1993). According to Burnie (2001), the young Proboscis Monkey has a blue face, black fur and a small nose at birth. As the monkey develops, its fur coloration changes and the nose increases in size.
The Indonesian and Malay peoples subversively coined the Nasalis Lavartus the: “Monyet Belanda” [literally: Dutchman monkey] for the perceived resemblance to the Dutch and later British colonials specifically the long, red nose, the red complexion of the “face” and the tendency for fur especially of the cranium and area of face homologous to sideburns to be red or yellow. Some also suggest the colonials language sounded like the Lavartus honking to the native Malaysians and Indonesians.