Cebus capucinus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Cebus capucinus
Species Authority: (Linnaeus, 1758)
Infra-specific Taxa Assessed:
Common Name(s):
English White-throated Capuchin, Gorgona White-fronted Capuchin
Spanish Cariblanco, Mono Capuchino, Mono Carablanca
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 is referable to the untufted group, and Sapajus Kerr, 1792 is the name available for the tufted capuchins.

Defler (2004) noted that three subspecies had been recorded for Colombia: C. c. capucinus (Linnaeus, 1758), C. c. nigripectus Elliot, 1909; and C. c. curtus Bangs, 1905, of the Pacific Island of Gorgona. They are not recognized as valid by Hershkovitz (1949), Hernández-Camacho and Cooper (1976), nor by Groves (2001, 2005). This listing provisionally maintains C. c. curtus because it is an island population. Fragaszy et al. (2004) and Rylands et al. (2006) discuss the taxonomy of the doubtfully valid Central American subspecies: C. c. limitaneus Hollister, 1914 and C. capucinus imitator Thomas, 1903.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Causado, J., Cuarón, A.D., Shedden, A., Rodríguez-Luna, E. & de Grammont, P.C.
Reviewer(s): Mittermeier, R.A. & Rylands, A.B. (Primate Red List Authority)
This species is listed as Least Concern as it is widespread, exhibits an adaptability to a variety of habitats, and there are few major threats driving a significant overall population decline at present.
2003 Least Concern

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Cebus capucinus is the only capuchin monkey in Central America, ranging from Honduras in the north, through Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama and through the Chocó-Darién into Colombia (Hernández-Camacho and Cooper 1976; Rodríguez-Luna et al. 1996; Reid, 1997; Marineros and Gallegos 1998). Four subspecies are recognized here:

Cebus capucinus capucinus
In Colombia, the White-throated Capuchin occurs south from the Panamanian border along the Pacific Coast, west of the Andes (up to 1,800–2,000 m above sea level) into northwestern Ecuador. It is restricted to the west bank of the upper Río Cauca (between the Cordillera Occidental and Cordillera Central) and extends north across the Río Sinu into Cordoba, Sucre and Atlantico to the town of Barranquilla on the northern coast of Colombia (Hernández-Camacho and Cooper 1976; Defler 2004). In Central America, C. c. capucinus extends west as far the Panama Canal (Baldwin and Baldwin 1977; Hall 1981).

Cebus capucinus limitaneus
In Honduras, Marineros and Gallegos (1998) recorded this subspecies from throughout the north (Departments of Gracias a Dios, Colón, Atlantida, and Cortés) besides Santa Bárbara in the north-west, and Olancho and El Paraíso in the east. Hollister (1914) also listed a skin from British Honduras (Belize). There have been unauthenticated reports of capuchins in the Mayan Mountains of western Belize (the Chiquebul forest and in the region of the Trio and Bladen branches of the Monkey River) and in Sarstoon National Park on the southern border. Its occurrence in Belize has never been confirmed (McCarthy 1982; Dahl 1984, 1987; Hubrecht 1986). Silva-López et al. (1995; Silva-López 1998) also reported on the possible occurrence of C. c. limitaneus in Guatemala, in the Sierra del Espíritu Santo near the Guatemala-Honduras border. This also remains to be substantiated.

Cebus capucinus imitator
Hall (1981) places this subspecies in western Panama, west from the Canal, and in adjacent areas of Costa Rica. Populations also occur on the islands of Coiba and nearby Jicarón. Baldwin and Baldwin (1976, 1977) documented the occurrence of C. capucinus in a number of localities in the Province of Chiriquí, south-western Panama. Crockett et al. (1997) listed localities in Nicaragua, and Allen (1908, 1910) recorded specimens of Cebus capucinus (referred to as Cebus hypoleucus in Allen, 1908), from Ocotal (northern highlands, 4,500 ft), and localities on the east slope of the highlands, Savala (800 ft), Chontales (lowlands east of Lake Nicaragua, altitudes 500-1,500 ft), and the Río Tuma (500 ft) and Muy Muy (Matagalpa Province, 1,500-2,000 ft).

Cebus capucinus curtus
Gorgona Island, Colombia, possibly introduced in the 16th or 17th centuries.
Colombia (Colombia (mainland)); Costa Rica (Costa Rica (mainland)); Ecuador (Ecuador (mainland)); Honduras (Honduras (mainland)); Nicaragua (Nicaragua (mainland)); Panama
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: No information on population densities are available for this species.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: In Central America, present in dry deciduous forests on Pacific coast (rainfall less than 1,750 mm) and, humid subtropical forests on the Caribbean coast (rainfall as much as 5,000 mm), mangroves and second growth (Freese and Oppenheimer 1981: Reid 1997). In Colombia, C. capucinus occurs in primary and advanced secondary forest remnants, degraded forests and forests with large concentrations of palms, especially Scheelea magdalenica at altitudes up to 2,000 m above sea level (Defler 2004). In Ecuador, it occurs in humid tropical and sutropical forests from sea level to 1,800 m (Tirira 2007).

Capucins are frugivores-insectivores, including wide variety of fruits, seeds and arthropods, frogs, nestlings and even small mammals, supplemented by stems, flowers and leaves. They are extractive, manipulative foragers. Males disperse. Both sexes take up linear hierarchies, the top ranking male being dominant to the top ranking female. Multi-male groups range in size from 5-30 individuals. Fedigan and Jack (2001) recorded a mean group size of 15.8 for 20 groups in the Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica. The adult sex-ratio was 0.71. In Chiriqui, Panama, Baldwin and Baldwin (1977) found C. capucinus occupying small forest patches of 0.2 to 40 ha in small groups of 2-5 individuals, whereas groups in larger forests reached sizes do 20 or more iindividuals.

Although new born offspring can be seen year round, C. capucinus in the Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica, shows a birth peak in the dry season and early rainny season (Fedigan et al. 1996).

HB 33.0-49.5 cm, TL 39.7-54.0 cm.
Weight 1.8-4.3 kg (Reid 1997).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Although habitat loss is certainly a threat, all subspecies have a varied diet, and are able to live in a variety of different habitats and disturbed areas. They are sometimes kept as pets and hunted.

There are no current major threats to Cebus capucinus curtus on Gorgona Island, which is a protected area (Parque Nacional Gorgona). However, as this is the only location in which this subspecies is found (Gorgona Island has an area of 15 km², it remains very susceptible to any natural or anthropogenic threats in the near future.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed on CITES Appendix II. It is present in a number of protected areas:

Cebus capucinus capucinus

Porto Belo National Park (34,848 ha) (Matamoros and Seal 2001)
Chagres National Park (129,000 ha) (Matamoros and Seal 2001)
Darién National Park (555,000 ha) (Matamoros and Seal 2001)

Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve (Tirira 2007)
Los Cedros Protected Forest (Tirira 2007)

Cebus capucinus imitator

Costa Rica
Santa Rosa National Park (21,913 ha) (Reid 1997; Matamoros and Seal 2001)
Rincón La Vieja National Park (14,083 ha) (Matamoros and Seal 2001)
Piedras Blancas National Park (14,100 ha) (in range)
Chirripó National Park (50,150 ha) (Matamoros and Seal 2001)
Corcovado National Park (41,788 ha) (in range)
Guanacaste National Park (33,786 ha) (Chapman et al. 1989)
Palo Verde National Park (5,704 ha) (Reid 1997)
Cabo Blanco Strict Nature Reserve (14,258 ha) (Matamoros and Seal 2001)

La Amistad International Park (207,000 ha) (Matamoros and Seal 2001)
Soberanía National Park (22,104 ha) (Matamoros and Seal 2001)
El Copé – Comar Torrijos Herrera (25,275 ha) (Matamoros and Seal 2001)
Volcán Baru National Park (14,000 ha) (Matamoros and Seal 2001)
Altos de Campaña National Park (4,816 ha) (in range)
Cerro Hoya National Park (32,557 ha) (Matamoros and Seal 2001)
Isla Coiba National Park and Jicarón (270,125 ha) (Matamoros and Seal 2001)
El Montuoso Forest Reserve (10,375 ha) (Matamoros and Seal 2001)
Isla Barro Colorado Natural Monument (5,600 ha) (Matamoros and Seal 2001)

Cebus capucinus limitaneus

Montaña de Cusuco National Park (18,000 ha) (Marineros and Gallegos 1998; Matamoros and Seal 2001)
Pico Bonito National Park (68,000 ha) (Marineros and Gallegos, 1998; Matamoros and Seal 2001)
Montaña de Yoro National Park (15,500 ha) (Matamoros and Seal 2001)
Sierra de Agalta National Park (27,000 ha) (Marineros and Gallegos 1998; Matamoros and Seal 2001)
Punto Isopo Wildlife Refuge (11,200 ha) (Marineros and Gallegos 1998)

Cebus capucinus curtus

Isla Gorgona National Natural Park (1568 ha)

Bibliography [top]

Allen, J. A. 1908. Mammals from Nicaragua. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 24: 647-670.

Allen, J. A. 1910. Additional mammals from Nicaragua. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 28: 87-115.

Baldwin, J. D. and Baldwin, J. I. 1976. Primate populations in Chiriquí, Panama. In: R. W. Thorington, Jr. and P. G. Heltne (eds), Neotropical Primates: Field Studies and Conservation, pp. 20-31. National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC.

Baldwin, J. D. and Baldwin, J. I. 1977. Observations on Cebus capucinus in southwestern Panama. Primates 18: 937-941.

Chapman, C. A., Chapman, L. and Glander, K. E. 1989. Primate populations in northwestern Costa Rica: potential for recovery. Primate Conservation 10: 37-44.

Crockett, C. M., Brooks, R. D., Crockett Meacham, R., Crockett Meacham, S. and Mills, M. 1997. Recent observations of Nicaraguan primates and a preliminary conservation assessment. Neotropical Primates 5(3): 71-75.

Dahl, J. F. 1984. Primate survey in proposed reserve area in Belize. IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group Newsletter.

Dahl, J. F. 1987. Conservation of primates in Belize, Central America. Primate Conservation 8: 119-121.

Defler, T. R. 2004. Primates of Colombia. Conservation International, Washington, DC, Usa.

Fedigan, L. M. and Jack, K. 2001. Neotropical primates in a regenerating Costa Rican dry forest: a comparison of howler and capuchin population patterns.

Fedigan, L. M., Rose, L. M. and Morera, R. A. 1996. See how they grow: Tracking capuchin monkeys (Cebus capucinus) populations in a regenerating Costa Rican dry forest. In: M. A. Norconk, A. L. Ronseberger and P. A. Garber (eds), Adaptive rediations of Neotropical Primates, pp. 289-307. Plenum Press, New York, USA.

Fragaszy, D. M., Visalberghi, E. and Fedigan, L. 2004. The Complete Capuchin: The Biology of the Genus Cebus. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

Freese, C. H. and Oppenheimer, J. R. 1981. The capuchin monkeys, Cebus. In: A. F. Coimbra-Filho and R. A. Mittermeier (eds), The Ecology and Behavior of Neotropical Primates, Vol. 1., pp. 331-390. Academia Brasileira de Ciências, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Groves, C. P. 2001. Primate taxonomy. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.

Groves, C.P. 2005. Order Primates. In: D.E. Wilson and D.M. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of the World, pp. 111-184. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Hall, E.R. 1981. The Mammals of North America. John Wiley and Sons, New York, USA.

Hernández-Camacho, J. and Cooper, R. W. 1976. The nonhuman primates of Colombia. In: R. W. Thorington, Jr. and P. G. Heltne (eds), Neotropical Primates: Field Studies and Conservation, pp. 35-69. National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC, USA.

Hershkovitz, P. 1949. Mammals of northern Colombia. Preliminary report No. 4: Monkeys (Primates) with taxonomic revisions of some forms. Proceedings of the United States National Museum 98: 323–427.

Hershkovitz, P. 1955. Notes on the American monkeys of the genus Cebus. Journal of Mammalogy 36: 449–452.

Hollister, N. 1914. Four new mammals from tropical America. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 27: 103-106.

Hubrecht, R. C. 1986. Operation Raleigh primate census in the Maya Mountains, Belize. Primate Conservation 7: 15-17.

Marineros, L. and Gallegos, F. M. 1998. Guía de Campo de los Mamíferos de Honduras. Instituto Nacional de Ambiente y Desarrollo, Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

Matamoros, Y. and Seal, U. S. 2001. Informe Final. Taller para la Conservación Asesoramiento y Manejo Planificado para los Primates Mesoamericanos, Parque Zoológico Simón Bolívar, San José, Costa Rica, 23-25 Junio 1997. IUCN/SSCConservation Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG), Apple Valley, Minnesota, USA.

McCarthy, T. J. 1982. Chironectes, Cyclopes, Cabassous and probably Cebus in southern Belize. Mammalia 46: 397-400.

Reid, F. 1997. A field guide to the mammals of Central America and southeast Mexico. Oxford University Press, New York, USA.

Rodríguez-Luna, E., Cortés-Ortiz, L., Mittermeier, R. A. and Rylands, A. B. 1996. Plan de Acción para los Primates Mesoamericanos. IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group, Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico.

Rylands, A. B., Groves, C. P., Mittermeier, R. A., Cortés-Ortiz, L. and Hines, J. J. 2006. Taxonomy and distributions of Mesoamerican primates. In: A. Estrada, P. Garber, M. Pavelka and L. Luecke (eds), New Perspectives in the Study of Mesoamerican Primates: Distribution, Ecology, Behavior and Conservation, pp. 29–79. Springer, New York, USA.

Silva Jr., J. de S. 2001. Especiação nos macacos-prego e caiararas, gênero Cebus Erxleben, 1777 (Primates, Cebidae). Doctoral Thesis, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro.

Silva Jr., J. de S. 2002. Sistemática dos macacos –prego e caiararas, gênero Cebus Erxleben, 1777 (Primates, Cebidae). Livro de Resumos, X Congresso Brasieliero de Primatologia: Amazônia – A Última Fronteira: 35. Bélém, Brazil.

Silva-López, G., Motta-Gill, J. and Sánchez-Hernández, A. I. 1995. The Primates of Guatemala: Distribution and Status. The Wildlife Conservation Society, New York, USA.

Silva-López, G., Motta-Gill, J. and Sánchez-Hernández, A. I. 1998. Distribution and status of the primates of Guatemala. Primate Conservation 18: 30-41.

Tirira, D.G. 2007. Guía de Campo de los Mamíferos del Ecuador. Ediciones Murciélago Blanco. Publicación especial sobre los mamíferos del Ecuador 6, Quito, Ecuador.

Citation: Causado, J., Cuarón, A.D., Shedden, A., Rodríguez-Luna, E. & de Grammont, P.C. 2008. Cebus capucinus. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 01 September 2015.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided