Parting Shot. The Grey Chlorocebus pygerythrus

After a lengthy study I discovered that ‘Chloro’ means green and ‘Cebus’ indicates a genus of monkey. Add Pygerythrus after Chlorocebus and you get those awfully cute mammals called Vervet monkeys that have black faces and grey bodies. There are millions throughout Africa and where I live they often come to visit, chattering in the trees and thieving everything edible from us Homo sapiens. Being a pictorial colourist, I find the blue colour of some of the larger males’ testicles fascinating. This luminous blue colouring apparently occurs in the dominant males. So, in macho males terms, the bluer the better. Biologists once experimented when they painted a non-dominant male’s testicles blue. After letting him go back into the troop, he immediately started to take over as the dominant male. I do not, however, have any verification of this experiment. In terms of colour, the top Vervet-boys have a suspended scrotum sack that looks greenie-blue or turquoise. Some colourists call it Cyan, a colour between blue and green in the visible spectrum; the complimentary colour of red; the colour obtained by subtracting red from white light. Not long ago, I found a large male monkey sunning himself on my gutter, surrounded by attentive, jabbering females. Lucky bugger, I thought, should I get some colour back into my life? Paint parts of my body blue? Then, with some careful stalking, I managed to take this picture with a long lens of him lounging in my gutter. The image, as it appears here, has not been colour enhanced with Photoshop. With my digital colour meter I measured that his jewels measured 56 parts Red, 112 Green and 176 Blue. That, simplified, would be almost exactly two parts blue and one part green. Then the Chlorocebus Pygerythrus clattered his teeth at me, gave me the finger, and joined his harem in the trees beneath the blue African sky.

The testicals of a Vervet Monkey explains the name given to it in Afrikaans: Blou Aap.

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