Sapajus macrocephalus 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Primates Cebidae

Scientific Name: Sapajus macrocephalus
Species Authority: (Spix, 1823)
Common Name(s):
English Large-headed Capuchin
Spanish Machín Negro, Macaco Prego, Mico
Cebus macrocephalus Spix, 1823
Taxonomic Source(s): Lynch Alfaro, J.W., Silva, J.S. and Rylands, A.B. 2012. How different are robust and gracile Capuchin Monkeys? An argument for the use of Sapajus and Cebus. American Journal of Primatology 74(4): 273–286.
Taxonomic Notes: Silva Jr (2001, 2002) argued that the tufted capuchins and the untufted capuchins (sensu Hershkovitz 1949, 1955) are so distinct in their morphology that they should be considered separate genera. Cebus Erxleben, 1777 for the untufted group, and Sapajus Kerr, 1792 is the name available for the tufted capuchins.

Taxonomy of the tufted capuchins (sensu Hershkovitz 1949, 1955) follows Silva Jr (2001), who did not recognize any subspecific forms. Groves (2001, 2005) presented an alternative taxonomy for the tufted capuchins as follows: C. apella apella (Linnaeus, 1758); C. apella fatuellus (Linnaeus, 1766); C. apella macrocephalus Spix, 1823; C. apella peruanus Thomas, 1901; C. apella tocantinus Lönnberg, 1939; C. apella ?margaritae Hollister, 1914; C. libidinosus libidinosus Spix, 1823; C. libidinosus pallidus Gray, 1866; C. libidinosus paraguayanus Fischer, 1829; C. libidinosus juruanus Lönnberg, 1939; C. nigritus nigritus (Goldfuss, 1809); C. nigritus robustus Kuhl, 1820; C. nigritus cucullatus Spix, 1823; C. xanthosternos Wied-Neuwied, 1826 (see Fragaszy et al. 2004; Rylands et al. 2005).

Groves (2001) and Silva Jr. (2001) differ in their definitions of the forms Cebus apella (Linnaeus, 1758) and Cebus macrocephalus Spix, 1823. Cebus apella fatuellus (Linnaeus, 1766), C. apella peruanus Thomas, 1901, and C. libidinosus juruanus Lönnberg, 1939 recognized by Groves (2001) are considered junior synonyms of C. macrocephalus by Silva Jr. (2001). C. apella tocantinus Lönnberg, 1939 recognized by Groves (2001) is considered a junior synonym of C. apella by Silva Jr. (2001).

The taxonomy of the tufted capuchins recognized by Aquino and Encarnación (1994) in Peru was influenced by Philip Hershkovitz, who unfortunately never published his conclusions on the taxonomy of the genus. Aquino and Encarnación (1994) provided distributions for Cebus apella maranonis, C. a. peruanus and C. a. macrocephalus, all of which are included here as C. macorcephalus. They also recognized the form C. a. pallidus to the south of the Rio Madre de Dios and along the right bank of the Rio Inamabari, which is considered a junior synonym of C. apella by Silva Jr. (2001). Aquino and Encarnación (1994) also reported that tufted capuchins from the montane forests between 800 and 1,000m above sea level in the Departments of Huánaco, Pasco and Junín show distinct phenotypical characters and might be a fifth subspecies for the country.

The species was transferred to Sapajus (Lynch Alfaro et al. 2012).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2008-07-01
Assessor(s): Rylands, A.B., Boubli, J.-P., Mittermeier, R.A., Stevenson, P., Palacios, E. & de la Torre, S.
Reviewer(s): Mittermeier, R.A., Rylands, A.B. & Hoffmann, M.
Listed as Least Concern as the species is widespread and there are currently no major threats resulting in a significant overall population decline that would warrant listing in a threatened category or listing as Near Threatened. Although declines need to be considered over a period of 45 years (three generations), the species is more of a habitat generalist than other species with similar life-histories. However, it is declining in some parts of its range, especially due to hunting.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Least Concern (LC)
2003 Least Concern (LC)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: We are following here the taxonomy and proposed distributions of Silva Jr (2001). The taxonomic arrangement proposed by Groves (2001) was discussed by Rylands et al. (2005), especially in relation to the work of Torres de Assumpção (1983). It was not possible to delimit the ranges of the subspecies he recognized, but those of the species were mapped in Fragaszy et al. (2004).

The range of Sapajus macocephalus described here includes those of the following taxa recognized by Groves (2001): Cebus apella fatuellus (Linnaeus, 1766) from Colombia, C. a. peruanus Thomas, 1901 from Peru; 1939, C. libidinosus juruanus Lönnberg, 1939 (in part) from the upper Rio Juruá. Cebus apella maranonis Von Pusch, 1941, recognized by Aquino and Encarnación (1994), is considered by Silva Jr. (2001) to be a junior synonym of C. [Sapajus] macrocephalus, and by Groves (2001) to be a junior synonym of C. a . peruanus.

For Colombia, Defler (2004) described its range as follows: the entire Colombian Amazon, and all of the piedmont forest at least to 1,300 m above sea level, east of the Cordilleras, with the exception of some eastern areas such eastern Vichada and upper Cahuinari. It is also absent from much of the Colombian trapezium. Sapajus. macrocephalus (which he referred to as Cebus apella) is found also in upper valley of the Río Magdalena in Huila, up to 2,700 m above sea level (in the region of San Agustín) and the region of Tierradentro in Cacua to elevations of about 2,500 m (close to Inzá). Following Silva Jr. (2001), S. macrocephalus extends east to the Río Orinoco (S. apella is the form in the Venezuelan Amazon), occurring along the right bank of the Rio Negro to approximately São Gabriel Cachoeira where it is range is then delimited by a line approximately SSE across the Negro-Solimões interfluvium to the region of Coarí (on the Solimões) and then extending across the basin of the Rio Purus to the junction of the Ríos Madre Dios and Guaporé. From there its southern range is delimited by the Madre de Dios in Bolivia (C. apella occurs to the south of the Madre de Dios) west into Peru. Following Aquino and Encarnación (1994) its range then takes on all of the Peruvian Amazon north of the Rio Madre de Dios, but extending across the river to the south beyond the mouth of the Río Inambari (a southern tributary of the Madre de Dios). In Peru, S. macrocephalus (sensu Silva Jr, 2001) has been recorded at altitudes up to 1,800 m above sea level (Aquino and Encarnación 1994).
Countries occurrence:
Bolivia, Plurinational States of; Brazil (Acre, Amazonas); Colombia (Colombia (mainland)); Ecuador (Ecuador (mainland)); Peru
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: In Tinigua National Park, Stevenson et al. (1992) recorded a density of 16 individuals/km² and, later Stevenson (2007) estimated a density of 27 individuals/km² (Stevenson 2007).

Freese (1975, 1977) estimated the population density in the Manu National Park to be 36 individuals/km², and similar densities (40 individuals/km²) were found by Terborgh (1983; Terborgh and Janson 1985; Janson 1985a,b).

Further population densities estimates have been published as follows:
Gallery forest in El Tuparro National Park, Colombia - 15-17 individuals/km² (Defler and Pintor 1985)
Pacaya-Samiria, Peru - 8-10 individuals/km² (Soini 1986)
Estación Biológica de Caparú, Colombia - 8 individuals/km² (Defler 2004)
Río Puré, Colombia - 5.8 individuals/km² (Defler 2004)
Samiria basin, Peru - 24 individuals/km² (Freese 1975, 1977)
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: An inhabitant of nearly all types of Amazonian lowland and submontane forest, especially palm-dominated forest (Fresse and Oppenheimer 1981; Aquino and Encarnación 1994). Defler (2004) observed that it occurs in a wide range of habitats in Colombia. From deciduous gallery forest of the Llanos Orientales to humid evergreen forest as well as secondary growth. Unlike Cebus albifrons, they are averse to flooded forest. Defler (1985) found that while Sapajus macrocephalus chooses more mesic environments in semi-deciduous forests of the Llanos Orientales, C. albifrons uses more the thorny Bactris palm forest on dry sandy stream beds. In some parts of Colombia they are serious agricultural pests, feeding on corn (hence the name maicero), sugar cane, cacao and other fruit trees. In Ecuador it is fond in humid lowland and submontane forests (Tirira 2007).

Capuchins are frugivores-insectivores, including a wide variety of fruits, seeds and arthropods, frogs, nestlings and even small mammals, supplemented by stems, flowers and leaves. They are extractive, manipulative foragers (see Struhsaker and Leland 1977; Izawa 1979). Largely sympatric with the untufted capuchins, C. albifrons. The species differ most markedly in their diet through their use of palm fruits (Terborgh 1983; Spironello 1991, 2001). Mean group size for Sapajus apella is 18 individuals, with numbers of females exceeding the numbers of males (adult sex ratio of 0.85). Males disperse. Both sexes take up linear hierarchies, the top ranking male being dominant to the top ranking female. Subordinate males are often peripheral (Fragaszy et al. 2004). A poorly-defined birth season in Peru is from October to June (Aquino and Encarnación 1994). Groups spend much time associating with squirrel monkeys (Saimiri) groups. Janson (1984, 1985a,b, 1990a,b) carried out a field study of the feeding ecology and behaviour of this species in Manu National Park, Peru.

Size: Adult male 1.35-4.8 kg (mean 3.05 kg); adult female: 1.76-3.4 kg (mean 2.4 kg) (Jack 2007).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): They are hunted everywhere they occur, and in Peru Aquino and Encarnación (1994) reported that hunting has led to its extirpation in areas around human settlements.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is present in a number of protected areas:


Manuripi-Heath Wildlife Reserve (1,000,000 ha) (within range)

Serra do Divisor National Park (846,408 ha) (Calouro 1999)

Amacayacu Natural National Park (293,000 ha) (within range but possibly scarce or even absent, Defler [2004])
Cahuinarí Natural National Park (575,500h) (INDERENA, 1989) (within range, Defler [2004])
Serrania de Chiribiquete Natural National Park (1,280,000 ha) (within range, Defler [2004])
Cordillera de los Picachos Natural National Park (286,600 ha) (within range, Defler [2004])
Cueva de los Guacharos Natural National Park (9,000 ha) (INDERENA 1989)
El Cocuy Natural National Park (306,000 ha) (INDERENA 1989)
El Tuparro Natural National Park (548,000 ha) (INDERENA 1989) (within range, Defler [2004])
La Paya Natural National Park (442,000 ha) (Palanco-Ochoa et al., 1999; within range Defler 2004)
Serranía de la Macarena Natural National Park (630,000 ha) (Struhsaker and Leland 1977; within range, Defler [2004])
Nukak Natural National Reserve (855,000 ha) (within range, Defler [2004])
Puinawai Natural National Reserve (1,092,500 ha) (within range, Defler [2004])
Tinigua National Park (201,875 ha)
Pure National Park (1,000,000 ha)

Yasuní National Park (Tirira 2007)

Manu National Park (1,532,806 ha) (Aquino and Encarnación 1994)
Tingo Maria National Park (18,000 ha) (Aquino and Encarnación 1994)
Pacaya Samiria National Reserve (2,080,000 ha) (Aquino and Encarnación 1994)
Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Communal Reserve (Aquino and Encarnación 1994)

Manuripi-Heath Wildlife Reserve (1,000,000 ha) (in range)

It is listed on CITES Appendix II.

Citation: Rylands, A.B., Boubli, J.-P., Mittermeier, R.A., Stevenson, P., Palacios, E. & de la Torre, S. 2015. Sapajus macrocephalus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T42696A70613732. . Downloaded on 02 December 2015.
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