At least seven monkey species are native to Central America. An eighth species, the Coiba Island howler (Alouatta coibensis) is often recognized, but some authorities treat it as a subspecies of the mantled howler, (A. palliata).A ninth species, the black-headed spider monkey (Ateles fusciceps)is also often recognized, but some authorities regard it as a subspecies of Geoffroy's spider monkey (A. geoffroyi). In addition, two species of white-faced capuchin monkey have been generally recognized since the 2010s although some primatologists consider these to be a single species. Taxonomically, all Central American monkey species are classified as New World monkeys, and they belong to four families. Five species belong to the family Atelidae, which includes the howler monkeys, spider monkeys, woolly monkeys and muriquis. Three species belong to the family Cebidae, the family that includes the capuchin monkeys and squirrel monkeys. One species each belongs to the night monkey family, Aotidae, and the tamarin and marmoset family, Callitrichidae.
Geoffroy's spider monkey is the only monkey found in all seven Central American countries, and it is also found in Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico.Other species that have a widespread distribution throughout Central America are the mantled howler, which is found in five Central American countries, and the Panamanian white-faced capuchin (Cebus imitator), which is found in four Central American countries. The Coiba Island howler, the black-headed spider monkey, the Panamanian night monkey (Aotus zonalis), the Colombian white-faced capuchin (Cebus capucinus) and Geoffroy's tamarin (Saguinus geoffroyi) are each found in only one Central American country, Panama. The Central American squirrel monkey (Saimiri oerstedii) also has a restricted distribution, living only on part of the Pacific coast of Costa Rica and a small portion of Panama. El Salvador is the Central American country with the fewest monkey species, as only Geoffroy's spider monkey lives there. Panama has the most species, nine, as the only Central American monkey species that does not include Panama within its range is the Guatemalan black howler (Alouatta pigra).
Geoffroy's tamarin is the smallest Central American monkey, with an average size of about 0.5 kilograms (1.1 lb). The Central American squirrel monkey and Panamanian night monkey are almost as small, with average sizes of less than 1.0 kilogram (2.2 lb). The Guatemalan black howler has the largest males, which average over 11 kilograms (24 lb). The spider monkey species have the next largest males, which average over 8 kilograms (18 lb).
One Central American monkey, the black-headed spider monkey, is considered to be Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).Geoffroy's spider monkey and the Guatemalan black howler are both considered to be Endangered. The Central American squirrel monkey had been considered endangered, but its conservation status was upgraded to Vulnerable in 2008. The Coiba Island howler is also considered to be vulnerable. The white-faced capuchins, the mantled howler and Geoffroy's tamarin are all considered to be of Least Concern from a conservation standpoint.
Monkey watching is a popular tourist activity in parts of Central America.In Costa Rica, popular areas to view monkeys include Corcovado National Park, Manuel Antonio National Park, Santa Rosa National Park Guanacaste National Park and Lomas de Barbudal Biological Reserve. Corcovado National Park is the only park in Costa Rica in which all the country's four monkey species can be seen. The more accessible Manuel Antonio National Park is the only other park in Costa Rica in which the Central American squirrel monkey is found, and the Panamanian white-faced capuchin and mantled howler are also commonly seen there. Within Panama, areas to view monkeys include Darién National Park, Soberanía National Park and a number of islands on Gatun Lake including Barro Colorado Island. In addition, Geoffroy's tamarin can be seen in Metropolitan Natural Park within Panama City. In Belize, the easily explored Community Baboon Sanctuary was established specifically for the preservation of the Guatemalan black howler and now contains more than 1000 monkeys.
|Latin Name||Latin binomial name, or scientific name, of the species|
|Common Name||Common name of the species, per Wilson, et al.Mammal Species of the World (2005)|
|Family||Family within New World monkeys to which the species belongs|
|Average Size - Male||Average size of adult male members of the species, in kilograms and pounds|
|Average Size - Female||Average size of adult female members of the species, in kilograms and pounds|
|Conservation Status||Conservation status of the species, per IUCN as of 2010|
|Range||Countries in which the species occurs; countries outside Central America shown in italics|
|Latin Name||Common Name||Family||Average Size - Male||Average Size - Female||Conservation Status||Range||References|
|Alouatta coibensis [a]||Coiba Island howler||Atelidae||7.150 kg (15.76 lb)||5.350 kg (11.79 lb)|
|Alouatta palliata||Mantled howler||Atelidae||7.150 kg (15.76 lb)||5.350 kg (11.79 lb)|
|Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia , Ecuador , Mexico|
|Alouatta pigra||Guatemalan black howler||Atelidae||11.352 kg (25.03 lb)||6.434 kg (14.18 lb)|
|Belize, Guatemala, Mexico|
|Aotus zonalis [b]||Panamanian night monkey||Aotidae||0.889 kg (1.96 lb)||0.916 kg (2.02 lb)|
|Ateles fusciceps [c]||Black-headed spider monkey||Atelidae||8.890 kg (19.60 lb)||8.800 kg (19.40 lb)|
|Panama, Colombia , Ecuador|
|Ateles geoffroyi||Geoffroy's spider monkey||Atelidae||8.210 kg (18.10 lb)||7.700 kg (16.98 lb)|
|Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia , Mexico|
|Cebus capucinus [d]||Colombian white-faced capuchin||Cebidae||3.668 kg (8.09 lb)||2.666 kg (5.88 lb)|
|Panama, Colombia , Ecuador|
|Cebus imitator||Panamanian white-faced capuchin||Cebidae||3.668 kg (8.09 lb)||2.666 kg (5.88 lb)|
|Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama|
|Saguinus geoffroyi||Geoffroy's tamarin||Callitrichidae||0.486 kg (1.07 lb)||0.507 kg (1.12 lb)|
|Saimiri oerstedii||Central American squirrel monkey||Cebidae||0.829 kg (1.83 lb)||0.695 kg (1.53 lb)|
|Costa Rica, Panama|
The Atelidae are one of the five families of New World monkeys now recognised. It was formerly included in the family Cebidae. Atelids are generally larger monkeys; the family includes the howler, spider, woolly, and woolly spider monkeys. They are found throughout the forested regions of Central and South America, from Mexico to northern Argentina.
Geoffroy's spider monkey, also known as the black-handed spider monkey, is a species of spider monkey, a type of New World monkey, from Central America, parts of Mexico and possibly a small portion of Colombia. There are at least five subspecies. Some primatologists classify the black-headed spider monkey, found in Panama, Colombia, and Ecuador as the same species as Geoffroy's spider monkey.
The Guatemalan black howler, or Yucatan black howler, is a species of howler monkey, a type of New World monkey, from Central America. It is found in Belize, Guatemala and Mexico, in and near the Yucatan Peninsula. It lives in evergreen, semideciduous and lowland rain forests. It is also known as the baboon in Belize, although it is not closely related to the baboons in Africa.
The Coiba Island howler is a species of howler monkey, a type of New World monkey, endemic to Panama. Although the Coiba Island howler is generally recognized as a separate species, mitochondrial DNA testing is inconclusive as to whether it is actually a subspecies of the mantled howler. The reason for treating it as a separate species is the dermal ridges of its hands and feet differ from those of the mantled howler.
The black-headed spider monkey is a species of spider monkey, a type of New World monkey, from Central and South America. It is found in Colombia, Ecuador, and Panama. Although primatologists such as Colin Groves (1989) follow Kellogg and Goldman (1944) in treating A. fusciceps as a separate species, other authors, including Froelich (1991), Collins and Dubach (2001) and Nieves (2005) treat it as a subspecies of Geoffroy's spider monkey.
The Azuero howler a type of monkey that is a subspecies of the Coiba Island howler A. coibensis. This subspecies is endemic to the Azuero Peninsula in Panama. The Azuero howler is distinguished primarily by its golden flanks and loins, and browner appearance on the rest of its body.
The Ecuadorian mantled howler is a subspecies of the mantled howler, A. palliata. It ranges from Panama through Colombia and Ecuador into northern Peru. The range limits between the Ecuadorian mantled howler and the golden-mantled howler are not entirely clear. The Ecuadorian mantled howler replaces the Golden-mantled howler in either extreme eastern Costa Rica or western Panama. The Ecuadorian mantled howler differs from the golden-mantled howler primarily by being paler, with a more yellowish mantle.
The golden-mantled howler is a subspecies of the mantled howler, A. palliata. It ranges throughout much of Central America, in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, and possibly Panama. The range limits between the golden-mantled howler and the Ecuadorian mantled howler are not entirely clear. The Ecuadorian mantled howler replaces the golden-mantled howler in either extreme eastern Costa Rica or western Panama.
The Mexican howler is a subspecies of the mantled howler, A. palliata. This subspecies is found predominantly in forests between south eastern Mexico and north eastern Peru. Typical of its species, the Mexican howler monkey has a prehensile tail, a deep jaw, and a large pharynx which it uses to make characteristically deep and resonating howls.
The ornate spider monkey, is a subspecies of Geoffroy's spider monkey, a type of New World monkey, from Central America, native to Costa Rica and Panama. Other common names for this subspecies include the brilliant spider monkey, the common spider monkey, the red spider monkey, the Panama spider ape, and the Azuero spider monkey; the latter two of which were previously thought to be distinct subspecies, panamensis and azuerensis, respectively.
The brown-headed spider monkey, is a critically endangered subspecies of the black-headed spider monkey, a type of New World monkey, found in northwestern Ecuador.
The hooded spider monkey, is a subspecies of Geoffroy's spider monkey, a type of New World monkey, from Central America, native to Panama. It also might be found in a small portion of Colombia adjacent to Panama. In western Colombia and northeast Panama it is replaced by the Black-headed spider monkey, A. fusciceps. In western Panama, it is replaced by another subspecies of Geoffroy's Spider Monkey, the Ornate spider monkey, A. g. ornatus. The Hooded spider monkey has long, tawny fur.
The Nicaraguan spider monkey, is a subspecies of Geoffroy's spider monkey, a type of New World monkey, from Central America. It is native to Nicaragua and parts of Costa Rica closest to Nicaragua plus the Guanacaste peninsula. The population in Guanacaste and much of Nicaragua is sometimes considered to be a separate subspecies, A. g. frontatus. But other authorities consider A. g. frontatus to be a synonym of A. g. geoffroyi.
The Mexican spider monkey, is a subspecies of Geoffroy's spider monkey, a type of New World monkey, from Mexico and Central America, native to Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador. It is described as being critically endangered by the IUCN, due to an 80% population decline in the last 45 years, mostly due to a large amount of habitat loss.
The Colombian spider monkey, is a subspecies of the Black-headed spider monkey, a type of New World monkey, found in Colombia and Panama. Some authorities, such as Froelich (1991), Collins and Dubach (2001) and Nieves (2005), do not recognize the Black-headed spider monkey as a distinct species and so treat the Colombian spider monkey as a subspecies of Geoffroy's spider monkey.
The Azuero spider monkey is a possible subspecies of spider monkey that is in critical danger of extinction according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Common names of this subspecies include mono charro, mono charao and mono araña. The Azuero subspecies is one of three types of spider monkeys in Panama; Ateles geoffroyi panamensis with a range spanning from Costa Rica to Darién excluding the Azuero, Ateles geoffroyi fusciceps, with a range spanning Panamá and Colón provinces, and Ateles geoffroyi azuerensis, the Azuero spider monkey, whose range encompasses only the Azuero Peninsula.
The Colombian white-faced capuchin, also known as the Colombian white-headed capuchin or Colombian white-throated capuchin, is a medium-sized New World monkey of the family Cebidae, subfamily Cebinae. It is native to the extreme eastern portion of Panama and the extreme north-western portion of South America in western Colombia and northwestern Ecuador.