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Squirrel Monkeys and Capuchins: Cebidae

White-throated Capuchin (cebus Capucinus):species Accounts

Physical characteristics: White-throated capuchins weigh 5.9 to 8.6 pounds (2.7 to 3.9 kilograms), with males being larger than females. They measure about 18 inches (46 centimeters) with a tail that is just as long. The robust body is fully furred, with white to yellowish coloration on the throat, head, and shoulders. The back, arms, and legs are black. The long, black, hairy tail is semiprehensile, able to wrap around tree branches, but unable to function as a fifth limb for holding objects.

White-throated capuchins are in the trees for all of their activities, including sleeping. (J-C Carton/Bruce Coleman Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

Geographic range: White-throated capuchins are found in Colombia, Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama.

Habitat: White-throated capuchins occupy evergreen forests with full canopies and those with less-developed canopies but dense understory. They also inhabit mangroves and dry deciduous forests.

Diet: White-throated capuchins feed on plants and animals. Fruits are their favorite food, but they also eat shoots, leaves, flowers, buds, berries, and nuts, as well as insects, spiders, crabs, small birds, baby squirrels, and lizards. They eat oysters, using rocks to open the shells.

Behavior and reproduction: White-throated capuchins form groups of ten to twenty individuals, typically with more adult females than males, but ruled by a large, older male. They are arboreal and active during the day. When foraging, they call out to one another, using squeaks, shrieks, and chatters. They groom each other, looking through each other's fur to remove parasites and dirt. Males defend the group's territory, rubbing urine on their fur and feet and distributing that scent among the trees. They have been known to throw branches and fruits at perceived enemies, including humans.

Adults have several partners. Females have single births. The newborn clings to its mother's undersides or across her shoulders. After six weeks, the infant rides on its mother's back. Males do not share in childcare. Young males leave their birthplace as early as age two.

White-throated capuchins and people: White-throated capuchins are the familiar creatures associated with organ-grinders who used to entertain in city streets. They are popular in zoos worldwide. Their intelligence makes them a prime candidate for medical research. Farmers consider them pests for raiding crops.

Conservation status: White-throated capuchins are not considered a threatened species. ∎

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsSquirrel Monkeys and Capuchins: Cebidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Common Squirrel Monkey (saimiri Sciureus): Species Accounts, White-throated Capuchin (cebus Capucinus):species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, CEBID