Monkeys are equally prevalent on either side of Ecuador’s central Andes mountain range, and in next week’s blog we’ll look at species resident in the Pacific coastal region. Below, five inhabitants of the Amazon region are summarized. The following text is adapted from the Ministry of Tourism’s official observation guide, Primates of Ecuador.
Squirrel monkeys [Saimiri sciureus] – Also known as mono payaso (clown monkey) or mono soldado (soldier monkey), these measure from 25-32cm (without tail). It lives in primary and degraded forests, near water bodies. It moves a few feet above the ground where vegetation is dense, branches are thin and lianas (vines) abound. It may descend to the ground to look for invertebrates which represent a large proportion of its diet. It is very active, spending most of the day moving around.
Red Howler monkeys [Alouatta seniculus] – Also known as mono roncador (snoring monkey) or mono llorón (weeping monkey), these measure from 45-70cm (without tail). It lives in primary or recently intervened forests; prefers palm swamps and flooded forests at river or lake shores. As leaves are its main food, it can subsist in small forest patches. It moves around in the middle and top strata of the forest, but can descend to ground to eat minerals in salt licks or drink
water from ponds.
Tufted Capuchin monkeys [Cebus macrocephalus] – Also known as capuchino café (brown capuchin), these measure from 35-50cm (without tail). Its whereabouts in Ecuador are not well-
known. It has been found in primary, secondary and degraded forests. It usually moves around in the middle and lower strata of forests, but might also visit the ground when hunting insects, small vertebrates or drinking water. It’s a skillful frog hunter, often hiding amongst plants to surprise them.
Noisy Night monkeys [Aotus vociferans] – Also known as mono de noche (night monkey), these measure from 25-45cm (without tail). It belongs to the sole group of nocturnal primates of America. It lives in primary or degraded forests, and even in coffee plantations. It equally occupies flooded and terra firme forests. It moves from 10-20 meters above ground, roosting during the day in hollow tree trunks and old palm trees. It is more active during full moon, due to increased light.
Yellow-handed Titi monkeys [Callicebus lucifer] – Also known as tití de manos blancas (white-handed titi) or viudita (little widow), these measure from 31-38cm (without tail). It can only be found in primary forests north of the Aguarico River. It lives in terra firme forests and in margins between terra firme and swamps. It moves 15-25 meters above ground, avoiding open spaces such as large swamps or palm stands. It defends its territory with loud calls. Male and female sing in duos.