Sapajus robustus 

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Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Primates Cebidae

Scientific Name: Sapajus robustus (Kuhl, 1820)
Common Name(s):
English Crested Capuchin, Robust Tufted Capuchin
Cebus apella ssp. robustus Kuhl, 1820
Cebus nigritus ssp. robustus (Groves, 2001)
Cebus robustus Kuhl, 1820
Cebus variegatus (Elliot, 1913)
Simia variegata (Humbolt, 1812)
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) listed three subspecific forms for C. nigritus: C. nigritus nigritus (Goldfuss, 1809); C. nigritus robustus Kuhl, 1820, considered a distinct species by Silva Jr. (2001); and C. nigritus cucullatus Spix, 1823, considered a junior synonym of C. nigritus by Silva Jr. (2001).

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

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered A2c 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 Endangered due to a severe and ongoing population decline inferred from habitat loss. Over the past three generations (48 years), it is estimated that the species has undergone a 50% decline due primarily to habitat loss through conversion to agriculture.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Sapajus robustus occurs from the Rio Jequitinhonha in southern Bahia and northern Minas Gerais, south through Espírito Santo to the Rio Doce (Rylands et al. 1988; Oliver and Santos 1991). The western-most locality is in the state of Minas Gerais is given by Pinto (1941), who collected specimens from the headwaters of the Rio Pissarão, in a mountainous region north of the Rio Piracicaba, not far from the town of Presidente Vargas. It is possible that the Serra do Espinhaço of Minas Gerais, running north-south and defining the transition from the Atlantic forest to bush savanna (cerrado) in the west, marks the western limits of the distribution of this form. Martins (2005) surveyed the entire range of Sapajus robustus and identified the following range limits: North-east – Rio Jequitinhonha river in Bahia and Minas Gerais; North-west and west – Rio Jequitinhonha in Minas Gerais; South-west – Rio Suaçuí Grande and the Serra do Espinhaço; South-east – Rio Doce in Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo. Martins (2005) identified an area of intergradation with Sapajus nigritus the rios Santo Antônio and Suaçuí Grande.
Countries occurrence:
Brazil (Bahia, Espírito Santo, Minas Gerais)
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Chiarello (1999) obtained encounter rates of 2.47-0.6 sighting/10 km in seven sites in northern Espírito Santo, Brazil.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Tropical lowland and submontane forest in 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 forests in the western part of its range in Minas Gerais.

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.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species has a restricted range in the Atlantic forest in the states of Bahia (southern), eastern Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo, south of the Rio Jequitinhonha and north of the Rio Doce. They are hunted, and the forests within their range have been destroyed for coffee, eucalyptus and pine plantations (cotton in the 19th century), other agricultural crops, and for cattle pasture.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Occurs in the following protected areas in Brazil:

Espírito Santo
Linhares Forest Reserve (21,787 ha) (Mendes 1991; Chiarello 1999, 2003)
Sooretama Biological Reserve (27,943 ha) (Mendes 1991; Chiarello 1999, 2003)

Minas Gerais
State Biological Reserve Mata dos Ausentes (490 ha) (Martins 2005)
State Ecological Station Acauã (5,196 ha) (Martins 2005)

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.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.5. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.1. Harvest management
3. Species management -> 3.4. Ex-situ conservation -> 3.4.1. Captive breeding/artificial propagation
4. Education & awareness -> 4.3. Awareness & communications

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.1. Housing & urban areas
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.2. Small-holder farming
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.3. Agro-industry farming
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.2. Wood & pulp plantations -> 2.2.2. Agro-industry plantations
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.2. Small-holder grazing, ranching or farming
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.3. Logging & wood harvesting -> 5.3.5. Motivation Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
1. Research -> 1.6. Actions
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓ 

♦  Pets/display animals, horticulture
 Local : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

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

Chiarello, A. G. 1999. Effects of fragmentation of the Atlantic forest on mammal communities in south-eastern Brazil. Biological Conservation 89: 71-82.

Chiarello, A. G. 2003. Primates of the Brazilian Atlantic forest: the influence of forest fragmentation on survival. In: L. K. Marsh (ed.), Primates in Fragments: Ecology and Conservation, pp. 99-121. Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, New York, NY, 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.

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.

Martins, W. P. 2005. Distribuição Geográfica e Conservação do Macaco-Prego-de-Crista, Cebus robustus”. Masters Thesis, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais.

Mendes, S. L. 1991. Situação atual dos primatas em reservas florestais do estado do Espírito Santo. In: A. B. Rylands and A. T. Bernardes (eds), A Primatologia no Brasil – 3, pp. 347-356. Sociedade Brasileira de Primatologia, Fundação Biodiversitas, Belo Horizonte.

Oliver, W. L. R. and Santos, I. B. 1991. Threatened endemic mammals of the Atlantic forest region of south-east Brazil. Wildlife Preservation Trust, Special Scientific Report 4: 1-125.

Pinto, O. M. O. 1941. Da validez de Cebus robustus Kuhl e de suas relações com as formas mais afins. Papéis Avulsos Zoologia, São Paulo.

Rylands, A. B., da Fonseca, G. A. B., Leite, Y. L. R. and Mittermeier, R. A. 1996. Primates of the Atlantic forest: origin, endemism, distributions and communities. In: M. A. Norconk, A. L. Rosenberger, and P. A. Garber (eds), Adaptive Radiations of the Neotropical Primates, pp. 21-51. Plenum Press, New York.

Rylands, A. B, Kierulff, M. C. M. and Mittermeier, R. A. 2005. Some notes on the taxonomy and distributions of the tufted capuchin monkeys (Cebus, Cebidae) of South America. Lundiana 6: 97–110.

Rylands, A. B., Spironelo, W. R., Tornisielo, V. L., Lemos de Sá, R. M, Kierulff, M. C. M. and Santos, I. B. 1988. Primates of the Rio Jequitinhonha valley, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Primate Conservation 9: 100-109.

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.

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 robustus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T42697A70614762. . Downloaded on 21 August 2018.
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