White-headed capuchin

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White-headed capuchin
Scientific classification
C. capucinus
Binomial name
Cebus capucinus
(Linnaeus, 1758)
Distribution of Cebus capucinus[2]
  • C. albulus (Pusch, 1942)
  • C. curtus (Bangs, 1905)
  • C. hypoleucus (É. Geoffroy, 1812)
  • C. imitator (Thomas, 1903)
  • C. limitaneus (Hollister, 1914)
  • C. nigripectus (Elliot, 1909)

The white-headed capuchin (Cebus capucinus) is a medium-sized New World monkey. It is a member of the family Cebidae and the subfamily Cebinae. The monkey is also known as the white-faced capuchin or the white-throated capuchin. It lives in the forests of Central America and the northwestern part of South America. The white-headed Capuchin is important to rain forests because it spreads seeds and pollen.

It is a very intelligent monkey that has been trained to assist paraplegic people.

The monkey is medium-sized. It can weigh up to 3.9 kg (8.6 lb). Their color is mostly black. They have a pink face. They also have white on the front part of the body. It has a prehensile coiled tail. It is used to help support the monkey on a branch.

The white-headed capuchin can eat many different types of food. These include fruit, plants, insects and small vertebrates. The monkey lives in troops. (groups) these groups can have more than 20 animals, both males and females. the animal is noted for its ability to use tools. They are known to rub plants on their fur as a herbal medicine. They can also use tools as weapons and for getting food. The monkey is known to live for over 54 years.

Taxonomy[change | change source]

Some authorities consider this a member of the subspecies Cebus capucinus imitator.

The white-headed Capuchin was first described by Carolus Linnaeus in his 18th century work, Systema Naturae.[3] It is a member of the family Cebidae. It is part of the family of New World monkeys. It is part of the genus Cebus.[4] It is part of the C. capucinus species group.

Some scientists think there are three subspecies of white-headed Capuchin:[2]

  • C. c. capucinus
  • C. c. imitator
  • C. c. limitaneus

Physical description[change | change source]

The white-headed Capuchin has mostly black fur. It has white or yellow fur on the neck, throat, chest, shoulders, and upper arms.[5] The face is pink or a white-cream color. The face can have marks like dark brows or dark fur patches.[5][6] There is also an area of black fur on the top of the head.[5][5]

The body of an adult monkeys can be between 335 and 453 mm (13.2 and 17.8 in) in length plus the tail. They can weight of up to 3.9 kg (8.6 lb).[5][7] The tail can be as long as 551 mm (21.7 in).[5][7] Males are larger than females.[8]

Diet[change | change source]

The white-headed capuchin is an omnivore. Its mainly eats fruit and insects.[9] It find food at all levels of the forest. It also finds food on the ground.[10] To find food, it uses many methods. These include taking the bark off of trees, searching through leaf litter, breaking dead tree branches and rolling over rocks. They also use stones to break open hard fruits.[11]

Foraging in the trees

Fruit is between 50% and 67% or more of their diet.[9] In one study, white-headed capuchins ate 95 different fruit species.[9] Its favorite fruits includefigs from the family Moraceae, mangos and related fruits from the family Anacardiaceae and fruits from the family Rubiaceae.[12] It normally only eats ripe fruit.[9] It typically eats only the pulp and juice. The monkey spits out the seeds and fibers.[9] It also east flowers, young leaves and bromeliads.[9][13] The bromelids are also used as a water source.[9]

The insects they eat include beetle larvae, butterfly and moth caterpillars, ants, and wasps. They also eat the larvae of and ants and wasps.[9] It eats larger animals such as birds, bird eggs, frogs, lizards, crabs and mollusks.[9][14] The amount of vertebrates eaten is different for each troop.[9] Even troops ;icing next to each other can have large differences in their diets.[11]

The diet can vary between the rainy and dry season. Some tribes will eat many types of fruits in the rainy season[12] and during the dry season, they eat mostly insects, ant and wasp larvae and vertebrates.[12] Access to water can also be a problem during the dry season. The white-headed capuchin likes to drink every day. In forests where water holes dry up, there can be competition between troops over water holes.[12]

Reproduction[change | change source]

The white-headed Capuchin has a polygamous mating system. The male mates with many females.[10] The dominant male is normally the father of most of the young.[15] Dominant males avoid breeding with their own daughters who are members of the troop.[16] This is rare among New World monkeys.[16]

The gestation period is 5 to 6 months.[10] A single young is normally born from each pregnancy. Twins can sometimes be born. Most births happen from December to April.[7][10] The baby is carried on the mother's back for about 6 weeks.[10] After 4 to 5 weeks the baby can get off from its mother's back for a short period of time. At 3 months, it can move around by itself. Weaning happens between 6 and 12 months. It is common for Capuchins other than the mother help care for the infant.[17] Males and females engage in this alloparenting.[18][10]

The white-headed Capuchin matures slowly. It takes 3 years for a capuchin to reach sexual maturity.[19] Females normally give birth for the first time at 7 years old. They give birth every 26 months.[8] Males reach maturity at 10 years old.[8]

Habitats[change | change source]

White-headed capuchin at Frío River, Costa Rica

The white-headed Capuchin lives in Central America and a small part of South America. In South America the white-headed Capuchin lives in the north-western part between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountains in Colombia and Ecuador.[2] It is one of the most commonly monkeys in Central America's national parks.[20]

It is very common in Costa Rica and Panama, but the monkey has been thrown out from Honduras and much of Nicaragua. Many Honduran Capuchin monkeys were moved to the island of Roatán. Nany of the Nicaraguan Capuchin monkeys were captured and moved to the island of Ometepe.

References[change | change source]

  1. Causado, J.; Cuarón, A.D.; Shedden, A.; Rodríguez-Luna, E.; de Grammont, P.C. (2008). "Cebus capucinus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Archived from the original on 7 December 2008. Retrieved 19 January 2012.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 New perspectives in the study of Mesoamerican primates: distribution, ecology, behavior, and conservation. Developments in primatology. New York: Springer. 2006. ISBN 978-0-387-25854-6.
  3. (in Latin) Linnaeus, C (1758). Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata (10 ed.). Holmiae. (Laurentii Salvii). p. 29.
  4. Groves, Colin (2005). Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. (eds.). Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. {{{pages}}}. ISBN 0-801-88221-4.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Emmons, L. (1997). Neotropical Rainforest Mammals A Field Guide (Second ed.). University of Chicago Press. pp. 130–131. ISBN 0-226-20721-8.
  6. Luedtke, Karen (2012). Jungle Living: A look at life and social behavior of man and monkey in Central American. pp. 40–45. ISBN 978-0-9832448-2-0.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Rowe, N. (1996). The Pictorial Guide to the Living Primates. Pogonias Press. p. 95. ISBN 0-9648825-0-7.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Jack, K (2007). "The Cebines". Primates in Perspective. Oxford University Press. pp. 107–120. ISBN 978-0-19-517133-4.
  9. 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 Wainwright, M. (2002). The Natural History of Costa Rican Mammals. Zona Tropical. pp. 135–139. ISBN 0-9705678-1-2.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 Defler, T. (2004). Primates of Colombia. Bogotá, D.C., Colombia: Conservation International. pp. 227–235. ISBN 1-881173-83-6.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Chapman, Colin A.; Fedigan, Linda M. (1990-02-14). "Dietary Differences between Neighboring Cebus capucinus Groups: Local Traditions, Food Availability or Responses to Food Profitability?". Folia Primatologica. 54 (3–4): 177–186. doi:10.1159/000156442. ISSN 0015-5713. PMID 2391047.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Fragaszy, Dorothy M.; Fedigan, Linda Marie; Visalberghi, Elisabetta (2004). The complete Capuchin: the biology of the genus Cebus. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0-521-66768-5.
  13. New perspectives in the study of Mesoamerican primates: distribution, ecology, behavior, and conservation. Developments in primatology. New York: Springer. 2006. ISBN 978-0-387-25854-6.
  14. David Attenborough (2003). Life of Mammals. BBC Video.
  15. New perspectives in the study of Mesoamerican primates: distribution, ecology, behavior, and conservation. Developments in primatology. New York: Springer. 2006. ISBN 978-0-387-25854-6.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Garber, Paul A.; Estrada, Alejandro, eds. (2009). South American primates: comparative perspectives in the study of behavior, ecology, and conservation. Developments in primatology: progress and prospects. New York, NY: Springer New York. ISBN 978-0-387-78704-6.
  17. Panger, Melissa A.; Perry, Susan; Rose, Lisa; Gros-Louis, Julie; Vogel, Erin; Mackinnon, Katherine C.; Baker, Mary (September 2002). "Cross-site differences in foraging behavior of white-faced capuchins (Cebus capucinus)". American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 119 (1): 52–66. doi:10.1002/ajpa.10103. ISSN 0002-9483. PMID 12209573.
  18. Perry, S.; Manson, J. (2008). Manipulative Monkeys: The Capuchins of Lomas Barbudal. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. pp. 118, 145–154, 169–214, 229–241. ISBN 978-0-674-02664-3.
  19. Henderson, C. (2000). Field Guide to the Wildlife of Costa Rica. University of Texas Press. pp. 454–455. ISBN 0-292-73459-X.
  20. Hunter, Luke; Andrew, David (2002). Central America. Watching wildlife. Melbourne Oakland [Calif.] Paris: Lonely planet publications. ISBN 978-1-86450-034-9.

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