Squirrel Monkey

Species: Saimiri sciureus.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Male Ht. 1.3 ft., Wt. 2 lbs. Female Ht. 1 ft., Wt. 1.2 lbs. Coat: Short fur, yellow-green on back and limbs; underside paler white; face, throat, and ears white; muzzle and tip of tail black. Prehensile tail. Longevity: about 10 years in wild (?).

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION: Central America from Costa Rica to Panama; throughout north and central South America.

ECOLOGY: Secondary and primary forest arboreal frugivores. Home range: 40-300 acres. Day range: 2.5 km. Avian predators, snakes, and cats.

DIET: Ripe fruits (75%), insects (25%)

SOCIAL ORGANIZATION: Large multi-male groups with from 25-40 individuals. Male transfer. Multi-male polygynous groups. Male dominance hierarchy and intense competition during mating season. Amicable intergroup relations, no territoriality.

REPRODUCTION: Definite birth seasonality. Males sexually mature at 3 yrs., females at 2.5 yrs. Gestation length: 5 months. Olfactory cues for estrus. Litter size: 1. Interbirth interval: 1 yrs.

PARENTAL CARE: Infants carried by females for 4 mo. Weaning at 6 mo. No active male care.

TOPICS OF SPECIAL INTEREST: Group formation. Seasonal mating competition. Prehensile tail.


Coe, C.L. and L.A. Rosenblum 1989. Annual reproductive cycle of the Squirrel monkey. Folia Primatologica 29:

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