Types of New-World Monkeys

    New-World Monkeys

    The term “New World monkey” is a broad label that refers to any species that falls under one of the five taxonomic families of the Ceboidea superfamily: Cebidae, Callitrichidae, Atelidae, Pitheciidae, and Aotidae.

    There are 23 genera and 179 species of New World monkeys distributed across southern Mexico and South and Central America.

    Many different types of New World monkeys exist, including howler monkeys, marmosets, capuchins, sakis, night monkeys, tamarins, and more.

    Characteristics of New-World Monkeys

    Here are the main characteristics shared by New World monkeys:

    • new world monkey diet


      The diet of New World monkeys cannot simply be generalized—it largely depends on the particular species in question. Nevertheless, some of the common foods eaten by these monkeys are fruits, insects, tree gums, and seeds; many species are primarily frugivores or insectivores[1].

    • New-World Monkey Reproduction


      For the most part, smaller New World monkeys tend to stick to monogamy, while larger species are more likely to be polyamorous[2]. Interestingly, unlike many other primate groups, female New World monkeys do not have periods. It should also be noted that although the gestation period of New World monkeys varies by species, it is usually around 145 days (about 5 months).

    • New-World Monkey Tail


      All New World monkeys possess tails; in certain species, they are prehensile, meaning they can be used to grasp and hold objects, acting like a fifth limb of sorts[5].

      One of the most well-known uses in monkeys is to dangle from a tree branch (by tightly wrapping the prehensile tail around it). It should be noted that only 4 genera of New World monkeys have these useful appendages: Ateles (spider monkeys), Lagothrix (woolly monkeys), Brachyteles (woolly spider monkeys), and Cebus (capuchin monkeys)[6].

    • New-World Monkey Body Size

      Body Size

      In general, New World monkeys are mainly small to medium-sized. Specifically, the smallest New World monkey species in the world is the pygmy marmoset (Cebuella pygmaea); it weighs around 3 to 5 ounces and can be 4 to 6 inches long[7].

      On the other hand, one of the largest New World monkey species is the Yucatan black howler monkey (Alouatta pigra), which can weigh up to 11.4 kilograms, and is about 26 inches long[8].

    • New-World Monkey Teeth


      All New World Monkeys share a dental formula of[9]. This essentially means that each quadrant of the mouth has 2 incisors (which are used to bite food directly) and 1 canine (which is used to tear food), as well as 3 molars and premolars each (both of which are used to chew food).

    • New-World monkey social behavior

      Social Behavior

      The social groups and structures of New World monkeys vary between species. For instance, some genera live in small groups consisting of only close family (mates and children). Conversely, other genera live in large groups made up of many different families; these groups can be made up of as many as 50 to 60 individuals [10].

    • New-World Monkey Eyes


      New-World monkeys are known for their large eyes; however, the quality of their color vision varies between species. For example, in some species, all males possess dichromatic vision (meaning they only have two cone cells in their retinas that perceive color), while females’ vision can either be trichromatic (which means they have three cone types in their retinas), or dichromatic like males[11].

      On the other hand, all species of howler monkeys, male and female, have been found to have a trichromatic vision[12].

    • New-World Monkey Limbs


      All New-World monkeys possess relatively long limbs and have a locomotor pattern of quadrupedal walking[3]. It is also worth mentioning that the thumbs of New World monkeys, unlike Old World monkeys, are not opposable (meaning they cannot move independently from the hand)[4].

    Types of New-World Monkeys

    Amazon Black Howler

    Species Name: Alouatta nigerrima
    Amazon Black Howler is a New World tropical arboreal characterized by densely furry, prehensile tails, all-black faces, a stocky build, relatively large size, and loud howls. According to researchers, its howl sounds like a strong wind blowing through a tunnel can be heard more than two miles away.
    Andean Night Monkey

    Andean Night Monkey

    Species Name: Aotus miconax
    Andean night monkeys are a genus Aotus, commonly known as nocturnal monkeys or the Peruvian night monkey. Species in this genus are the only truly nocturnal monkeys in the world. Andean night monkeys are not sexually dimorphic as males and females look very similar.

    Andean Saddle-back Tamarin

    Species Name: Leontocebus leucogenys
    The Andean saddle tamarin, also known as the saddleback tamarin (formerly known as the brown-mantled tamarin), is a New World monkey species. Andean saddleback monkeys are considered "phyletic dwarfs," meaning their small size is related to their evolutionary development.

    Aracá Uakari

    Species Name: Cacajao ayresi
    The Aracá uakari, also called the Ayres black uakari, is a newly described monkey species endemic to the northwestern Brazilian Amazon. The species was found by Jean-Philippe Boubli of the University of Auckland after following local Yanomamo Indians on their hunts along the Aracá River, a northern tributary of the Negro River.

    Azara’s Night Monkey

    Species Name: Aotus azarae
    Azara's night monkeys, also known as southern night monkeys and Azara's owl monkeys, are native to the Gran Chaco region of South America, a vast area with many different ecosystems, from savannas to grasslands to dry spiny forests and gallery forests. Genetic testing has shown that the males of this species mated pairs are the fathers of the babies they care for.

    Bald Uakari

    Species Name: Cacajao calvus
    The bald uakari is an Amazon primate with special traits: it has a glossy red bald face, a short tail, and reddish fur. This monkey is highly specialized and is mainly found in palm habitats. The conspicuous crimson color is caused by blood flow under the skin, specifically a thinner epidermis with a higher concentration of capillaries on the face.

    Bare-eared Squirrel Monkey

    Species Name: Saimiri ustus
    The bare-eared squirrel monkey also called the golden-backed squirrel monkey, is a subspecies of the Saimiri sciureus group native to the tropical forests and jungles of South and Central America. The bare-eared squirrel monkey differs from other species because it does not have ear tufts.

    Bearded Capuchin

    Species Name: Sapajus libidinosus
    The bearded capuchin, also called the black-striped capuchin, is a New World monkey in the Cebidae family. They are found in central and northern Brazil. Until recently, the bearded capuchins were considered a subspecies of Tufted Capuchins.

    Black Bearded Saki

    Species Name: Chiropotes satanas
    The black-bearded saki is a species of bearded saki, a species of New World monkey, one of the five remaining monkeys of its kind. Another striking feature is its signature beards. This species prefers primary rainforest, where lush tree canopies provide a relatively safe area out of sight and out of reach of several predators.

    Black Capuchin

    Species Name: Sapajus nigritus
    The black capuchin, also called the black-horned capuchin, is a capuchin monkey native to the Atlantic rainforest of southeastern Brazil and extreme northeastern Argentina. The black capuchin was originally called Cebus nigritus or Cebus apella nigritus. Although this has changed, many sources still name the black capuchin as part of the Cebus genus.

    Black Howler monkey

    Species Name: Alouatta caraya
    Alouatta caraya is found in the tropical rain forests of central South America, extending through eastern Bolivia, Paraguay, southern Brazil, and northern Argentina. Alouatta Caraya monkeys are sexually dimorphic, with males weighing an average of 6.7 kg and females an average of 4.4 kg.

    Black Lion Tamarin

    Species Name: Leontopithecus chrysopygus
    The black lion tamarin, also called the golden-rumped lion tamarin, is a lion tamarin native to the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo, almost exclusively in Morro do Diabo State Park. Its limited geographic range makes it the rarest of the New-World monkeys.

    Black Spider Monkey

    Species Name: Ateles paniscus
    Ateles paniscus, the black spider monkey, is one of three sub-species of spider monkeys. Aside from the face, feet, and hands, they are covered in jet-black hair longer than a typical primate. Of all the Ateles species, Ateles paniscus is the largest.

    Black Squirrel Monkey

    Species Name: Saimiri vanzolinii
    The black squirrel monkey, also called the black-headed squirrel monkey or the blackish squirrel monkey is a small New-World monkey native to the central Amazonian region of Brazil. The black squirrel monkey closely resembles the much more common Bolivian squirrel monkey. However, the latter lacks the central black back.

    Black Tamarin

    Species Name: Saguinus niger
    Also known as western black-handed tamarind, the black tamarind is a species of tamarin native to Brazil. Black tamarind uses primary and secondary forests during foraging, primarily attaching itself to the canopy and spending little time on the ground.

    Black-capped Squirrel Monkey

    Species Name: Saimiri boliviensis
    The black-capped squirrel monkey is a New-World primate species endemic to the upper Amazon basin in Bolivia, eastern Peru, and western Brazil. Primarily, black-capped squirrel monkeys are arboreal and found in native and plantation forests and some managed areas close to running water.

    Black-Headed Spider Monkey

    Species Name: Ateles fusciceps
    The black-headed spider monkey is a species of New-World monkey native to Central and South America. The species name "Ateles" is derived from the Greek word "ateleia" meaning imperfect or incomplete. It was likely chosen because these monkeys do not have a thumb.

    Black-Tailed Marmoset

    Species Name: Mico melanurus
    The black-tailed marmoset is a New-World monkey species native to central South America. It is distributed from south-central Amazonia in Brazil to the Chaco far north of Paraguay. Black-tailed marmosets are arboreal and diurnal, using their claws for tree climbing.

    Black-Tufted Marmoset

    Species Name: Callithrix penicillata
    The black-tufted marmoset, also called the Black-pencilled marmosets or Mico-estrela in Portuguese is a type of New-World monkey. They live mainly in the neotropical gallery forests of the central Brazilian plateau.

    Brazilian Bare-Faced Tamarin

    Species Name: Saguinus bicolor
    The pied tamarin, also known as the pied bare-faced tamarin or Brazilian bare-faced tamarin, has one of the smallest home ranges of any primate in the world, located in and around the port city of Manaus.

    Brown Howler Monkey

    Species Name: Alouatta guariba
    The brown howler monkey, also called the brown howler monkey, is a species of New World monkey that lives in the forests of southeastern Brazil and northeastern Argentina. Despite the common name "brown howler", its color is remarkably variable, with some individuals mainly appearing black or reddish-orange.

    Central American Squirrel Monkey

    Species Name: Saimiri oerstedii
    The Central American squirrel monkey also called the red-backed squirrel monkey, is a squirrel monkey type native to the Pacific coast of Panama and Costa Rica. Central American squirrel monkeys spend most of their lives in the middle and upper layers of the tree canopy.

    Common Marmoset

    Species Name: Callithrix jacchus
    The common marmoset, also known as white-tufted-ear marmoset or white-tufted marmoset, is a type of New World monkey. As they have adapted to life at the forest edge of southeastern Brazil, common marmosets have also learned to take advantage of the region's plantations.

    Coppery Titi

    Species Name: Plecturocebus cupreus
    The coppery titi, or the red titi, is a species of titi, a type of New-World monkey native to South America. Coppery titi monkeys have dense fur that covers most of the body except for the face.

    Cotton-Top Tamarin

    Species Name: Saguinus oedipus
    The cotton-top tamarin is another small New-World primate found at the edge of tropical and secondary forests in northwestern Colombia. The common names "cotton-headed tamarin" and "cotton-top tamarin" are derived from the white hairs that spread across the head and flow down the neck.

    Emperor Tamarin

    Species Name: Saguinus imperator
    The Emperor Tamarin is a species of tamarin named for its resemblance to the German Kaiser Wilhelm II. It lives in the states of Acre and Amazonas, western Brazil, and the southwestern Amazon basin.

    Geoffroy’s Monk Saki

    Species Name: Pithecia monachus
    Geoffroy's monk saki, also called monk saki, is a species of saki monkey, a New-World primate native to South America. A monk saki is one of seven species of New-World arboreal monkeys with a bushy, feathery tail.

    Geoffroy’s Spider Monkey

    Species Name: Ateles geoffroyi
    Geoffroy's spider monkey also called the Central American spider monkey or black-handed spider monkey, is a species of spider monkey. The species name geoffroyi is honored by Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, a French naturalist.

    Geoffroy’s Tamarin

    Species Name: Saguinus geoffroyi
    Geoffroy's tamarin, also called the Panamanian tamarin, red-crested tamarin, or rufous-naped marmoset tamarin, is a tamarin, a small monkey found in Colombia and Panama. In what may seem like a role reversal in many monkey species, Geoffroy's tamarins are led by the oldest female in a group.

    Goeldi’s Monkey

    Species Name: Callimico goeldii
    Goeldi marmoset or Goeldi monkey is a small South American New-World monkey living in the upper Amazon basin region of Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, and Peru. Goeldi marmosets generally stay less than 5 meters from the forest floor, moving to higher elevations for fruit.
    Orange Monkeys

    Golden Lion Tamarin

    Species Name: Leontopithecus rosalia
    The golden lion tamarin (Leontopithecus rosalia), also called the golden tamarin, is a small New World primate in the Callitrichidae family. The golden lion tamarin derives its name from its vivid reddish-orange coat and extra-long hair around its face and ears, giving it a distinctive mane.

    Golden-Bellied Capuchin

    Species Name: Sapajus xanthosternos
    The golden-bellied capuchin (Sapajus xanthosternos), also called the buff-headed or yellow-breasted capuchin is a New World monkey species. They spend much time grooming one another for socialization, with the alpha species receiving the most attention.

    Golden-Headed Lion Tamarin

    Species Name: Leontopithecus chrysomelas
    The golden-headed lion tamarin (Leontopithecus chrysomelas), also known as the golden-headed tamarin, is a lion tamarin native to Brazil. It is only found in fragments of lowland and premontane forests in the state of Bahia and is therefore considered an endangered species.

    Guianan Brown Capuchin

    Species Name: Sapajus apella
    The tufted capuchin (Sapajus apella), also called the pin monkey, Guianan brown capuchin, or black-headed capuchin is a New World monkey native to South America and the Caribbean islands of Margarita and Trinidad.

    Guianan Saki

    Species Name: Pithecia pithecia
    The white-faced saki (Pithecia pithecia), also known as the golden-faced saki, Guianan saki, and Guyana saki, is a New World saki monkey species. Typically, they have a lifespan of around 14 years in the wild and have lived up to 36 years in captivity.

    Guianan Squirrel Monkey

    Species Name: Saimiri sciureus
    The Guianan squirrel monkey, also called the South American squirrel monkey, is a squirrel monkey found in Guiana, Brazil, and Venezuela. Saimiri sciureus was once thought to belong to the Collins' squirrel monkey and the Humboldt's squirrel monkey. Still, genetic research in 2009 and 2015 showed they were different species.

    Guianan Weeper Capuchin

    Species Name: Cebus olivaceus
    The wedge-capped capuchin (Cebus olivaceus), also known as Guianan weeper capuchin, is a capuchin monkey native to South America. Wedge-capped capuchins get their name from a black triangle of dark fur centered on their forehead.

    Hooded Capuchin

    Species Name: Sapajus cay
    The Azaras capuchin or hooded capuchin (Sapajus cay) is a robust capuchin species. It is found in northern Argentina, southeastern Bolivia, eastern Paraguay, and Brazil. Its habitat consists of humid, subtropical, semi-deciduous, gallery forests and forests in the Pantanales.

    Humboldt’s Night Monkey

    Species Name: Aotus trivirgatus
    The three-striped night monkey (Aotus trivirgatus), also known as the northern owl monkey, Humboldt's Night Monkey, or northern night monkey, is one of several currently recognized species of owl monkeys.

    Humboldt’s Squirrel Monkey

    Species Name: Saimiri cassiquiarensis
    Humboldt's squirrel monkey (Saimiri cassiquiarensis) is a species of squirrel monkey found in South America's tropical rainforests, except for the coastal forests of southeastern Brazil.

    Humboldt’s White Capuchin

    Species Name: Cebus albifrons
    Humboldt's white capuchins, also known as white-fronted capuchins, are a species of New-World monkeys and one of the smallest capuchin groups. Humboldt’s squirrel monkeys are usually led by a dominant male and female.

    Humboldt’s Woolly Monkey

    Species Name: Lagothrix lagothricha
    Humboldt's woolly monkey, common woolly monkey, or brown woolly monkey (Lagothrix lagothricha) is a woolly monkey endemic to South America. Humboldt's woolly monkeys can show subtle mood swings and intentions with various facial expressions.

    Mantled Howler Monkey

    Species Name: Alouatta palliata
    The Mantled howler monkey (Alouatta palliata) is a species of howler monkey, a New World monkey native to South and Central America. The species gets its name "mantled" from the long, protective hairs on its sides.

    Midas Tamarin

    Species Name: Saguinus midas
    The Midas tamarin (Saguinus midas), also called the red-handed tamarin or golden-handed tamarin is a New-World monkey in the Callitrichidae family. Midas tamarin is also known as golden tamarin or red-handed tamarin. This attests to the remarkably vivid colors of the feet and hands.

    Moustached Tamarin

    Species Name: Saguinus mystax
    Moustached tamarins, also known as black-chested moustached tamarins and Spyx's moustached tamarins, are native to Peru and Brazil. These monkeys are found in all strata of the lowland Amazon rainforest. The moustached tamarin gets its name from the lack of coloration in the facial hair around the mouth, which resembles a mustache.

    Napo Saki

    Species Name: Pithecia napensis
    The Napo saki (Pithecia napensis), also called the Napo monk saki, is a species of saki monkey, a type of New World monkey. The species' common name is derived from the Napo River in its locality.

    Northern Muriqui

    Species Name: Brachyteles hypoxanthus
    The northern muriquí (Brachyteles hypoxanthus) is an endangered species of woolly spider monkey or muriquí endemic to Brazil. When searching for fruit and leaves in tall trees, these monkeys use their tails for support.

    Peruvian Spider Monkey

    Species Name: Ateles chamek
    Peruvian spider monkeys, like other Ateles species, have a prehensile tail that can be used to facilitate brachiation. Typically, Peruvian spider monkeys have completely black fur and complexions, unlike the lighter red-faced black spider monkey.

    Pygmy Marmoset

    Species Name: Cebuella pygmaea
    The pygmy marmoset (smallest monkey), genus Cebuella, is a small genus of New-World monkeys endemic to the tropical rainforests of the western Amazon Basin in South America. Pygmy marmosets are also highly territorial, using scent glands to mark territories of up to 100 hectares.

    Red Howler Monkey

    Species Name: Alouatta seniculus
    The Colombian red howler or Venezuelan red howler is a South American species of howler monkey, a New World species of monkey found in the western Amazon basin. Colombian red howler monkeys live in relatively large social groups composed of around 10 individuals, with just one or possibly two of the individuals being male.

    Robust Capuchin Monkey

    Species Name: Sapajus robustus
    Robust capuchin monkeys, also called crested capuchin monkeys, are capuchin monkeys of the Sapajus genus. Some crested capuchin species are known to use stone tools in the wild. These are used to crack nuts and other seeds, dried fruits, and even oysters.

    Silvery Marmoset

    Species Name: Mico argentatus
    The Silvery marmoset (Mico argentatus) is a New-World monkey living in the eastern Amazon rainforest of Brazil. True to its name, the silvery marmoset's body is a striking silver-grey color. Silvery marmosets are primarily arboreal species and can spend their entire lives in trees without descending to the ground.

    Southern Muriqui

    Species Name: Brachyteles arachnoides
    The southern muriqui or woolly spider monkeys (Brachyteles arachnoides) are scattered across southeastern Brazil, from Bahia north to Sao Palo south. The southern muriqui is one of the largest primates in South America, with males weighing around 15 kg and females around 12 kg.

    Spix’s Night Monkey

    Species Name: Aotus vociferans
    The Spix's night monkey (Aotus vociferans), also called the Spix's owl monkey, Colombian gray nocturnal monkey, and noisy night monkey is a species of night monkey native to South America.

    White-bellied Spider Monkey

    Species Name: Ateles belzebuth
    The white-bellied spider monkey (Ateles belzebuth), also called the long-haired or white-fronted spider monkey, is an endangered species of spider monkey, a species of New-World monkey. These arboreal monkeys spend most of their time in the canopy. They rarely go down. When they do, they drink water, eat dirt, traverse a treeless area, or run away from an aggressive opponent.

    White-Headed Marmoset

    Species Name: Callithrix geoffroyi
    The Geoffroy's marmoset, also called Geoffrey's marmoset, white-headed marmoset, or tufted-ear marmoset is a marmoset native to the forests of eastern Brazil, where it is native to Minas Gerais, Espírito Santo, and Bahia. Geoffroy's marmosets are said to follow swarms of army ants to catch insects expelled by the ants.

    White-Throated Capuchin

    Species Name: Cebus capucinus
    White-throated capuchins, also called the white-headed capuchins, Colombian white-throated capuchins, and white-faced capuchins, are New World monkeys native to the tropical rainforests of western Colombia, Ecuador, and Panama.

    Yucatan Black Howler

    Species Name: Alouatta pigra
    The Yucatan black howler, also called the Guatemalan black howler or Central American black howler, is a New-World monkey native to Central America. The Yucatan black howler monkey is the largest species of howler monkey and among the largest monkeys in the New-World.

    Cite This Page


    BioExplorer.net. (2022, November 29). Types of New-World Monkeys. Bio Explorer. https://www.bioexplorer.net/animals/mammals/monkeys/new-world/.

    BioExplorer.net. "Types of New-World Monkeys" Bio Explorer, 29 November 2022, https://www.bioexplorer.net/animals/mammals/monkeys/new-world/.

    BioExplorer.net. "Types of New-World Monkeys" Bio Explorer, November 29 2022. https://www.bioexplorer.net/animals/mammals/monkeys/new-world/.

    Key References

    • [1]“The New World Monkeys”. Accessed September 03, 2022. http://www-personal.umich.edu/~phyl/anthro/platy.html.
    • [2]“New World Monkeys – Capuchins, The Night Monkey, Titis, Squirrel Monkeys, The Saki Family, Howler Monkeys – Species, Cebid, Tail, and Woolly – JRank Articles”. Accessed September 03, 2022. https://science.jrank.org/pages/4651/New-World-Monkeys.html.
    • [3]“New World Monkeys: Cebids – The Psychological Well-Being of Nonhuman Primates – NCBI Bookshelf”. Accessed September 03, 2022. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK232186/.
    • [4]“New World Monkeys – Facts, Information & Habitat”. Accessed September 03, 2022. https://animalcorner.org/animals/new-world-monkeys/.
    • [5]“New World monkey – New World Encyclopedia”. Accessed September 03, 2022. https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/New_World_monkey.
    • [6]““A Trick of the Tail”: Prehensile Tails and Primate Evolution | Field Projects International”. Accessed September 03, 2022. https://fieldprojects.org/a-trick-of-the-tail-prehensile-tails-and-primate-evolution/.
    • [7]“Pygmy Marmoset | San Diego Zoo Animals & Plants”. Accessed September 03, 2022. https://animals.sandiegozoo.org/animals/pygmy-marmoset.
    • [8]“Yucatan Black Howler, Alouatta pigra | New England Primate Conservancy”. Accessed September 03, 2022. https://neprimateconservancy.org/yucatan-black-howler/.
    • [9]“New-World Monkeys”. Accessed September 03, 2022. http://luna.cas.usf.edu/~rtykot/ANT3101/primates/new_monkeys.html.
    • [10]“Monkeys and Prosimians: Social Learning” by D. M. Fragaszy and J. Crast, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA, 2010. Accessed September 03, 2022. Link.
    • [11]“Recent evolution of uniform trichromacy in a New World monkey – ScienceDirect”. Accessed September 03, 2022. Link.
    • [12]“Howler monkeys: living a life in colour helps finding better food – TheScienceBreaker”. Accessed September 03, 2022. Link.


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