Gibbons are found in the tropical forests of Southeast Asia. Gibbons primarily eat fruits and leaves, but also consume flowers and insects. As of 2020, gibbons are classified as endangered by the IUCN. The greatest threats to their survival are palm oil production, logging, and the illegal trade in wildlife.
ECOLOGY & HABITAT
Gibbons are monogamous (pair-bonded) and their family groups typically consist of a pair of adults and young offspring. Gibbons use vocalizations to communicate with other members of their species and to defend their territory by warning other nearby groups of their presence. Pair-bonded males and females often “duet” by making long, complex vocalizations together. There is not much known about the cognitive abilities of gibbons. There is only about a 4% difference in the DNA of humans and gibbons.
LOCOMOTION & BODY SIZE
H. agilis, H. albibarbis, H. klossii, H. lar, H. moloch, H. muelleri, H. Pileatus
Gibbons use a type of arboreal locomotion called brachiation, which involves arm-swinging from branch to branch in order to travel between trees. Siamangs are the largest of the gibbon species and can often be nearly double the size of other gibbons (see Siamang page for more details). Non-siamang gibbons can range from around 1.4 to around 2 feet in height (43 to 61 cm) and from 11 to 17 pounds (5 to 7.5 kg) in weight. Adult males and adult females are generally the same size.
Siamangs can live to be over 40 years old when in captivity, but in the wild, their maximum lifespan is usually about 25 years old.