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 Two Howling Howlers -- Black Howler Monkeys (1997)

Acrylic on illustration board
5" x 7"
 Across most of the American tropics one of the six species of howler monkey is in evidence. An area from the source of the Parnaiba River in central Brazil down to northeastern Argentina is the home of the black howler (Alouatta caraya). Only the male of the species is black, and these two females show the blond pelage that characterizes their sex. The most distinctive feature of these rather languorous leaf eaters is the long, plaintive croaking roar emitted by both sexes, though that of the male is louder and deeper. This call, which under good conditions can be heard from three miles away, serves a number of social functions and to my ear is a sound emblematic of the neotropical rainforests. Its mournful timbre is at once profoundly sad and pacifying, and I try to convey some of that sense in this painting.