Geographic Distribution and Habitat
- Weeper Capuchins are found in South America in northern Brazil, Guyana, French Guiana, Suriname, Venezuela and possibly northern Colombia. They live in trees so they enjoy the tropical rain forest and its abundance of trees and leaves.
- They live in the lower to middle layers of the tree forest. This protects them from predators and also is where they find their food sources.
Size & weight
The Weeper Capuchin is named for the mournful sound of one of its vocalizations.
They are also known as Wedge-Capped Capuchins because of the black wedge shaped pattern on their foreheads.
They have prehensile tails, which means they are able to hang from their tails while eating or scavenging for food. Little pads on their tails, much like a dogs’ or cats’ paw pads, provide extra grip for grasping, steadying balance, and hanging from trees.
The Department of Anthropology at Columbia University has observed these capuchins using the toxins that millipedes release as a type of insect repellent.
Weeper Capuchins have been known to allomother, meaning that other females in the group will take care of others babies.
Behavior and Lifestyle
- Weeper Capuchins are like a lot of primates in their need for social groups. They live in groups of about 10-33 individuals. They have one dominate male that mates with most of the females.
- They live in multi-male multi- female groups, usually with three females to every male in a group. Their hierarchy system depends upon the mother’s status in the group. The females stay within their birth group (philopatric) while the males leave when they become sexually mature.
- They move around through the trees on all four limbs using their prehensile tails as an extra supporting limb for stability and grasping when they feed, and for balancing when climbing through trees.
- Their home range size, or the area where they forage to find food and shelter, varies depending on the size of the group and how much food is available in the area. With larger home ranges there is a greater chance of over lapping home ranges with other Weeper capuchin groups or other species competing for the same resource. Primates in general try to stay away from each other using vocalizations to tell others where they are and to stay away.
Conservation Status and Threats
- Weeper Capuchins are listed as Least Concern. The IUCN Red List's justification for this status is because these primates are wide spread, common, and there are no major threats to them at this time that would significantly make their population decline. This does not mean that they are in the clear though. With continued deforestation of the Amazon these primates could experience population decline in the future.
- Dept. of Anthropology, Columbia University, New York, NY, 2000. Seasonal anointment with millipedes in a wild primate: A chemical defense against insects?. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 26(12).
Written by Heidi Giancola, May 2016