Flunkey life

The flunkey, or gliding monkey, lives in the highest branches of the trees. Although it eats mainly leaves and fruits, it also feeds on small insects


The flunkey, or gliding monkey, Alesimia lapsus, is a very small marmoset-like cercopithecine Old World monkey, descended from the vervet monkey, from the treetop canopies of the tropical forests in Africa. It has become adapted to a gliding mode of locomotion.

In this development it parallels the evolution of many other mammals that have evolved gliding webs of skin, or patagia, from folds of skin between the limbs and tail. To support the patagia and deal with the stresses involved in flight the backbone and the limb bones have become remarkably strong for an animal of this size. Steered by its rudder-like tail the flunkey makes great gliding leaps between the crowns of the highest trees to feed on fruit and termites.

Flunkey tail

Its tail, almost as long as its body, provides balance in the air.


The flunkey does not actually fly but glides on outstretched webs of skin. It can cover distances of 40 meters or more between treetops.