Sapajus xanthosternos


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Sapajus xanthosternos
Species Authority: (Wied-Neuwied, 1826)
Common Name(s):
English Buff-headed Capuchin, Yellow-breasted Capuchin
Cebus apella subspecies xanthosternos Wied-Neuwied, 1826
Cebus xanthosternos Wied-Neuwied, 1826
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.

Distinct genetically (Seuánez et al. 1986), Cebus xanthosternos is considered a distinct species by both Groves (2001, 2005) and Silva Jr. (2001).

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

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered A2cd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2008-07-01
Assessor(s): Kierulff, M.C.M., Mendes, S.L. & Rylands, A.B.
Reviewer(s): Mittermeier, R.A. & Rylands, A.B.
This species is listed as Critically Endangered due to a severe population decline (due to extensive habitat loss throughout its range) over the past three generations (48 years) estimated at more than 80%. It is only known to occur in several small protected areas.
2008 Critically Endangered
2003 Critically Endangered
2000 Critically Endangered
1996 Critically Endangered
1996 Critically Endangered

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Sapajus xanthosternos is restricted to the Atlantic forest of southern Bahia, Brazil, north of the Rio Jequitinhonha, at least as far north as the Rio Paraguaçú near Salvador, but probably historically throughout the entire area west of, and north to, the Rio São Francisco (Coimbra-Filho et al. 1991, 1991/1992; Silva Jr, 2001).
Brazil (Bahia)
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Rylands (1982) estimated the density at Una, Bahia, at 0.72 groups/km² or 10.87 individuals/km².
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Tropical lowland and submontane forest in of the Atlantic coast of Brazil. Arboreal quadripeds, they are typically found in the lower to mid-canopy and understory (Freese and Oppenheimer 1981; Fragaszy et al, 2004; Jack 2007). Also dry, semi-deciduous forest patches in the western part of its range in Bahia.

Capuchins are frugivores-insectivores, including a wide variety of fruits, seeds and arthropods, frogs, nestlings and even small mammals in their diet, 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. Subordinate males are often peripheral (Fragaszy et al. 2004). No field studies have been carried out examining particularly the behaviour and ecology of this species.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is subject to very high rates of habitat loss and is heavily hunted (Santos et al. 1987; Coimbra-Filho et al. 1992/1993).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The largest single population is currently in the Una Biological Reserve contiguous with the Una Widlife Refuge (a buffer zone around the Biological Reserve), but a further protected area will be decreed in 2008: the Serra da Lontras National Park (16,800 ha), west of the biological reserve.

Also present in Condurú State Park (8,941 ha); Lemos Maia Experimental Station (CEPLAC/CEPEC) (495 ha); and Canavieiras Experimental Station (CEPLAC/CEPEC) (500 ha).

An International Committee for the Conservation and Management for the Atlantic forest capuchin monkeys, Sapajus xanthosternos and S. robustus, was created in 1992 by the Brazilian Institute for the Environment (IBAMA) to promote field studies and organize a captive population from the numerous individuals kept as pets. It languished, but was resuscitated in 2002 (Santos and Lernould 1993; Baker and Kierulff 2002), and took in a Working Group created in 2003 for Barbara Brown's Titi Monkey (Callicebus barbarabrownae) and Coimbra-Filho's Titi Monkey (C. coimbrai) (both also occurring in north-eastern Brazil).

It is listed on CITES Appendix II.

Bibliography [top]

Baker, J. A. and Kierulff, M. C. M. 2002. International committee for Cebus xanthosternos and Cebus robustus. Neotropical Primates 10(3): 158.

Coimbra-Filho, A. F., Rocha e Silva, R. and Pissinatti, A. 1991. Acerca da distribuição geográfica original de Cebus apella xanthosternos Wied 1820 (Cebidae, Primates). In: A. B. Rylands and A. T. Bernardes (eds), A Primatologia no Brasil 3, pp. 215–224. Fundação Biodiversitas and Sociedade Brasileira de Primatologia, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Coimbra-Filho, A. F., Rylands, A. B., Pissinatti, A. and Santos, I. B. 1991/1992. The distribution and conservation of the buff-headed capuchin monkey, Cebus xanthosternos, in the Atlantic forest region of eastern Brazil. Primate Conservation 12-13: 24–30.

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.

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.

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.1. Available at: (Accessed: 28 May 2015).

Jack, K. 2007. The cebines: toward an explanation of variable social structure. In: C. J. Campbell, A. Fuentes, K. C. Mackinnon, M. Panger and S. K. Bearder (eds), Primates in Perspective, pp. 107-123. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

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.

Rylands, A. B. 1982. The behaviour and ecology of three species of marmosets and tamarins (Callitrichidae, Primates) in Brazil. Doctoral Thesis, University of Cambridge.

Santos. I. B. and Lernould, J.-M. 1993. A conservation program for the yellow-breasted capuchin, Cebus apella xanthosternos. Neotropical Primates 1(1): 4–5.

Santos, I. B., Mittermeier, R. A., Rylands, A. B. and Valle, C. 1987. The distribution and conservation status of primates in southern Bahia, Brazil. Primate Conservation 8: 126-142.

Seuánez, H. N., Armada, J. L., Freitas, L., da Rocha e Silva, R., Pissinatti, A. and Coimbra-Filho, A. F. 1986. Intraspecific chromosome variation in Cebus apella (Cebidae, Platyrrhini): the chromosomes of the yellow-breasted capuchin Cebus apella xanthosternos Wied, 1820. American Journal of Primatology 10: 237–247.

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.

Citation: Kierulff, M.C.M., Mendes, S.L. & Rylands, A.B. 2015. Sapajus xanthosternos. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 01 September 2015.
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