New World monkeys are a fascinating group of primates that are native to the Americas. They are divided into five families and include over 60 species, such as the capuchin monkey, the marmoset, and the howler monkey. These monkeys are smaller than Old World monkeys and have longer tails, which make them more likely to live in trees than on the ground.
New World monkeys are omnivorous, meaning they eat plants and animals, and some of their favorite foods include fruits, insects, and small vertebrates. In this article, we will take a closer look at the nine types of New World monkeys, including their unique characteristics and habitats.
9 Types Of New World Monkeys
The gracile capuchin monkey is a species of New World monkey that belongs to the genus Cebus. They are found in the tropical rainforests of South America and are arboreal, meaning they live most of their life high in the trees.
Gracile capuchins have longer limbs relative to their body size than robust capuchins and have rounder skulls, whereas robust capuchins have jaws better adapted for opening hard nuts. They are omnivorous and eat a variety of foods, including fruits, insects, and small vertebrates.
Gracile capuchins are rated as least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, except for the Kaapori capuchin, which is rated as critically endangered.
Night monkeys, also known as owl monkeys or douroucoulis, are a type of nocturnal New World monkey belonging to the genus Aotus, the only member of the family Aotidae. There are eleven species of night monkeys, which are found across Panama and much of South America in primary and secondary forests, tropical rainforests, and cloud forests up to 2,400 meters (7,900 ft).
Night monkeys have large eyes that improve their vision at night, while their ears are mostly hidden, giving them their name Aotus, meaning “earless”. They are the only truly nocturnal monkeys, with the exception of some cathemeral populations of Azara’s night monkey, who have irregular bursts of activity during the day and night.
Night monkeys have monochromatic vision, which improves their ability to detect visual cues at night. They have a varied repertoire of vocalizations and live in small family groups of a mated pair and their immature offspring.
Night monkeys are rated as least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, except for the gray-handed night monkey, which is rated as vulnerable.
Titi monkeys are a group of New World monkeys belonging to the subfamily Callicebinae, which contains three extant genera: Cheracebus, Callicebus, and Plecturocebus. Historically, titis were monogeneric, comprising only the genus Callicebus.
Titi monkeys are found in South America, from Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, east through Brazil, and south to Bolivia and northern Paraguay. There are five species in the genus Callicebus, including Barbara Brown’s titi monkey, Coimbra Filho’s titi monkey, Coastal black-handed titi monkey, Black-fronted titi monkey, and Atlantic titi monkey.
Titi monkeys are small primates with thick, fluffy fur and a tail that can reach up to 19 inches in length. They are arboreal and rarely come to the forest floor, moving through the understory of the forest quadrupedally, as well as by leaping.
Titi monkeys are considerably more vocal than most other Neotropical primates, and their vocalizations are also more complex than those made by most other monkeys. They are monogamous, living in family groups of a mated pair and their immature offspring.
The white-faced saki, also known as the Guianan saki and the golden-faced saki, is a species of New World saki monkey found in Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, and Venezuela. They live in the understory and lower canopy of the forest, feeding mostly on fruits, nuts, seeds, and insects.
Although they are arboreal creatures and are specialists of swinging from tree to tree (brachiation), they are also terrestrial when foraging. White-faced sakis typically live around 14 years in their natural habitat and have been recorded to live up to 36 years in captivity.
Here are some key characteristics of the white-faced saki:
– Sexual dimorphism: White-faced sakis display noticeable sexual dimorphism in their coloration and size. Females have shorter hair than males, with brownish-grey fur and white or pale brown stripes around the corners of the nose and mouth. Males, on the other hand, have blacker fur, with a reddish-white forehead, face, and throat. Their faces are much whiter than females, and males are larger in body size. Males are approximately 500 grams heavier than females.
– Vocalizations: Duet vocalizations between males and females are important in maintaining territorial boundaries, as well as the social bond between pairs. They may also raise their hair and jump up and down on branches while emitting a loud, shrill, territorial call.
– Diet: White-faced sakis eat mainly fruit, and they have robust incisors and canines to break through the tough skins and shells. They also eat seeds, nuts, leaves, and insects, especially ants. They are an important seed disperser for many plants.
– Habitat: White-faced sakis are found in Northern South America in Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, and Venezuela.
– Lifespan: The average lifespan for this monkey is 15 years, but in human care, they may reach 35 years.
Howler monkeys are a genus of New World monkeys native to Central and South American forests. They are the most widespread primate genus in the Neotropics and are among the largest of the platyrrhines, along with the muriquis, the spider monkeys, and woolly monkeys.
Here are some key characteristics of howler monkeys:
– Loud howls: Howler monkeys are famous for their loud howls, which can be heard up to three miles away through dense rainforest. They use these howls to communicate with other members of their troop and to establish their territory.
– Size: Howler monkeys range in size from 56 to 92 cm (22 to 36 in), excluding their tails, which can be equally long. In fact, in some cases, the tail has been found to be almost five times the body length.
– Diet: Howler monkeys are omnivores and primarily eat fruit and nuts. They have short snouts and wide-set, round nostrils, which are very keen and can smell out food up to 2 km away.
– Prehensile tails: Howler monkeys have prehensile tails, which means they can grip branches like a fifth limb. They use their tails to help grip branches as they eat and move around high in the trees.
– Troop size: Each family group of howler monkeys is generally made up of 15 to 20 individuals, with the leader usually being an old male.
– Lifespan: The average lifespan of howler monkeys in the wild is 15 to 20 years.
Howler monkeys are slow-moving monkeys that commonly sit on the topmost branches and rarely descend to the ground. They feed primarily on leaves, but they also eat fruits, nuts, and flowers.
Howlers get almost all the water they need from the food they eat, but they may come to the ground during very dry spells to find extra water. While they are not usually aggressive, brown howler monkeys do not take well to captivity and are of bad-tempered and unfriendly disposition.
Uakaris are a group of New World monkeys belonging to the genus Cacajao. They are found in the tropical rainforests of South America, where they are inclined to be found in the damp jungle close to the water.
Here are some key characteristics of uakaris:
– Short tails: Unlike most monkeys, uakaris have very short tails, which are only 15-18 cm long, compared to their head and body length, which is 40-45 cm.
– Bald faces: Uakaris have almost no subcutaneous fat, so their bald faces appear almost skull-like. They have the most striking red facial skin of any primate, which ranges in color from pink to deep red.
– Long, loose hair: Uakaris’ bodies are covered with long, loose hair, but their heads are bald.
– Omnivorous: Uakaris are omnivores and eat a variety of foods, including fruits, nuts, seeds, and insects.
– Social animals: Uakaris live in groups called troops and are quite social animals. Such gatherings may include close to a hundred animals, but uakaris split up during the day to forage in smaller groups of one to ten individuals. At night, they sleep aloft, high in the rainforest canopy.
– Endangered: Uakaris are vulnerable to indiscriminate hunting, and their populations are badly hurt when they are harvested. The bald uakari is the only primate in the Yavari valley to be included in the IUCN Red List as Vulnerable (VU).
There are four distinct species of uakari, all of which are very similar in appearance but differ somewhat in fur color and location. These species are the bald uakari, the black-headed uakari, the red uakari, and the white uakari.
Woolly monkeys are a genus of New World monkeys, usually placed in the family Atelidae, and are native to the rainforests of South America. Here are some key characteristics of woolly monkeys:
– Appearance: Woolly monkeys have a thick brown coat with dark gray appendages. The stomach area is black, and heads are light brown. The fur color is the same for both males and females, but variation in color exists among subspecies. They have prehensile tails that assist in climbing and fulfill many functions of an opposable thumb. Arm and legs are about equal in length. All species are large, weighing around 7 kilograms (15 lb).
– Diet: Woolly monkeys are omnivores and eat a variety of foods, including fruits, nuts, seeds, and insects.
– Behavior: Woolly monkeys are social animals and live in relatively large social groups of up to 70 individuals, usually splitting the group into smaller subgroups when active. They communicate with each other in a large variety of ways, including facial expressions and vocalizations.
– Habitat: Woolly monkeys inhabit several different types of forests, including tropical lowland rainforests, cloud forests, and seasonally flooded forests.
– Threats: Woolly monkeys are hunted by a variety of species of eagles and cats, such as the jaguar. Their main predators, however, are humans, who hunt the species both for food and for the illegal pet trade. Habitat encroachment is also threatening the survival of the species; all these factors are believed to be the cause of the species’ recent decline. Woolly monkeys are now considered highly endangered, and captive individuals are bred to ensure the survival of the species as part of the International Breeding Program for Endangered Species.
Woolly monkeys are fascinating primates that play an important role in the ecosystem of the South American rainforest. They are threatened by a variety of factors, including habitat loss and hunting, and conservation efforts are underway to protect them and their habitat.
Squirrel monkeys are a type of New World monkey that live in the tropical rainforests of South America. They are small primates, measuring as little as 10 inches from the top of the head to the base of their tail. Here are some interesting facts about squirrel monkeys:
– Sociable animals: Squirrel monkeys are incredibly sociable animals and live in large troops that are usually 40 to 50 animals, though some contain up to 500 individuals. These groups consist of both males and females and can range in numbers anywhere between 25 and 500.
– Vocalizations: Squirrel monkeys are highly vocal and have around 25-30 different types of call. The groups have a number of vocal calls, including warning sounds to protect the group from large predators.
– Diet: The diet of a squirrel monkey primarily consists of fruits and insects. They have sharp teeth and hands and fingers designed for holding onto food while either peeling it or eating it.
– Appearance: Squirrel monkeys have a slender, lithe build, with a short greyish coat and bright yellow legs. They have white faces, a tuft of longer, darker hair on their foreheads, and black or dark brown muzzles. Their non-prehensile tail often curls over one shoulder when they are resting.
– Behavior: Squirrel monkeys move through the trees by leaping and have thighs that are shorter relative to their lower legs, which allows more jumping force. They distribute a musky glandular secretion throughout their fur (especially on tail) as scent to mark territory or to leave a trail for others of the troop to follow as they go through the trees.
– Breeding: Squirrel monkeys mate between September and November, and females act as the sole caregiver to their young, though males will also display increased aggression towards predators during the birthing season. Squirrel monkeys usually only give birth to one offspring at a time.
Squirrel monkeys are considered to be one of the cleverest monkeys due to having a large brain compared to the size of their body. They are listed as least concern on the IUCN Red List, however, their natural habitat has been greatly affected by deforestation.
Spider monkeys are New World monkeys that belong to the genus Ateles, part of the subfamily Atelinae, family Atelidae. They are found in tropical forests of Central and South America, from southern Mexico to Brazil. Here are some interesting facts about spider monkeys:
– Appearance: Spider monkeys are large primates that have long, thin limbs and a slender body. They have four long fingers on each hand and a prehensile tail that acts as a fifth limb. Their tail is generally longer than their body and can support their full body weight.
– Diet: Spider monkeys are omnivores and eat a variety of foods, including fruit, nuts, seeds, and insects.
– Behavior: Spider monkeys are social animals and live in bands of up to 35 individuals, but will split up to forage during the day. They are diurnal and spend the night sleeping in carefully selected trees. Groups are thought to be directed by a lead female, which is responsible for planning an efficient feeding route each day. Grooming is not as important to social interaction, owing perhaps to a lack of thumbs. Spider monkeys have been observed avoiding the upper canopy of the trees for locomotion.
– Vocalizations: Spider monkeys can produce a wide range of sounds and will “bark” when threatened; other vocalizations include a whinny similar to a horse and prolonged screams.
– Intelligence: Recent meta-analyses on primate cognition studies indicated spider monkeys are the most intelligent New World monkeys.
– Threats: All seven species of spider monkeys are under threat, with the brown spider monkey being critically endangered. They are hunted for bushmeat and are also threatened by habitat loss due to deforestation.
Spider monkeys are fascinating primates that play an important role in the ecosystem of the South American rainforest. They are threatened by a variety of factors, including habitat loss and hunting, and conservation efforts are underway to protect them and their habitat.
1. What are New World monkeys?
New World monkeys are a type of monkeys native to the Americas. They are called “new” because their discovery is relatively new compared to Old World monkeys living in Africa and Asia.
2. How many families of New World monkeys are there?
New World monkeys fall into five families: Callitrichidae, Cebidae, Aotidae, Pitheciidae, and Atelidae.
3. How many species of New World monkeys are there?
There are over 60 New World monkey species, including the capuchin monkey, the marmoset, and the howler monkey.
4. What do New World monkeys eat?
New World monkeys are omnivorous, meaning they eat plants and animals. Some of the most popular foods for New World monkeys include fruits, insects, and small vertebrates.
5. What are the key characteristics of Gracile Capuchin monkeys?
Gracile capuchin monkeys live in the tropical rainforests of South America, inhabiting the forests of Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. They are arboreal animals, so they live most of their lives high in the trees. Gracile capuchin monkey troops comprise related females and their young, with adult males living alone or in small groups.
6. What are the key characteristics of Night/Owl monkeys?
Night monkeys, also known as owl monkeys or douroucoulis, are a type of nocturnal New World monkey belonging to the genus Aotus. They have large eyes that improve their vision at night, while their ears are mostly hidden, giving them their name Aotus, meaning “earless”. They are the only truly nocturnal monkeys, with the exception of some cathemeral populations of Azara’s night monkey, who have irregular bursts of activity during the day and night.
7. What are the key characteristics of Spider monkeys?
Spider monkeys are large primates that have long, thin limbs and a slender body. They have four long fingers on each hand and a prehensile tail that acts as a fifth limb. Their tail is generally longer than their body and can support their full body weight.
8. What are the key characteristics of Squirrel monkeys?
Squirrel monkeys are small primates, measuring as little as 10 inches from the top of the head to the base of their tail. They have a slender, lithe build, with a short greyish coat and bright yellow legs. They have white faces, a tuft of longer, darker hair on their foreheads, and black or dark brown muzzles. Their non-prehensile tail often curls over one shoulder when they are resting.
9. What are the key characteristics of Uakaris?
Uakaris have almost no subcutaneous fat, so their bald faces appear almost skull-like. They have the most striking red facial skin of any primate, which ranges in color from pink to deep red. Uakaris’ bodies are covered with long, loose hair, but their heads are bald. Uakaris are omnivores and eat a variety of foods, including fruits, nuts, seeds, and insects. They live in bands of up to 35 individuals, but will split up to forage during the day.