Brachyteles hypoxanthus 

Scope: Global

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Primates Atelidae

Scientific Name: Brachyteles hypoxanthus
Species Authority: (Kuhl, 1820)
Common Name(s):
English Northern Muriqui, Northern Woolly Spider Monkey
Spanish Muriqui
Taxonomic Notes: Vieira (1944) recognized two subspecies of Brachyteles. Recent evidence provided by Lemos de Sá et al. (1990), Fonseca et al. (1991) and Lemos de Sá and Glander (1993) indicated that Vieira’s original (1944) standing was valid, but that differentiation is even more extreme and justifies the classification of the two forms as separate species (see also Coimbra-Filho et al. 1993). Groves (2001, 2005) lists the two muriquis as separate species.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered A2cd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Mendes, S.L., de Oliveira, M.M., Mittermeier, R.A. & Rylands, A.B.
Reviewer(s): Mittermeier, R.A., Rylands, A.B. (Primate Red List Authority) & Hoffmann, M. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
This species is listed as Critically Endangered due to a past and ongoing population decline, greater that 80% over the past 3 generations (60 years). Population declines are due to extensive habitat loss and hunting over this time period, resulting in 12 isolated subpopulations.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The range of the northern muriqui (B. hypoxanthus) covers the Atlantic forest of the states of Minas Gerais, Espírito Santo and Bahia, excluding the lowland forests in the extreme south of Bahia and northern Espírito Santo. According to Aguirre (1971), the northern limit to its range was probably the Rio Jequiriçá basin, which flows into the Baía de Todos os Santos, and including the forests of the right bank of the Rio Paraguaçu. The southern limit is more poorly defined, but it probably extended to the Serra da Mantiqueira, in southern Minas Gerais, near to the state boundaries with Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo (Aguirre 1971; Mittermeier et al. 1987; Lemos de Sá and Glander 1993; Strier and Fonseca 1996–1997).
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:The minimum known population in 2005 was 855 individuals (Mendes et al. 2005a), broken down as follows:

Caparaó National Park (Espírito Santo), Federal protected area (31,853 ha) – minimum population 82
Augusto Ruschi Biological Reserve and vicinity (Espírito Santo), Federal protected area (3,573 ha) 14 (Pinto et al. 1993; Vieira and Mendes 2005).
Mata Escura Biological Reserve (Minas Gerais), Federal protected area (50,890 ha – minimum population 28 (Melo et al. 2002, 2004; Melo 2004)
Rio Doce State Park (Minas Gerais) State protected area (35,976 ha) – minimum population 124 (Mendes et al. 2005a,c)
Ibitipoca State Park (Minas Gerais), State protected area (1,488 ha) – minimum population 7 (the muriqui population is largely in forest fragments outside the state park) (Moreira et al. 2003; Oliveira 2003; Ferraz et al. 2005)
Serra do Brigadeiro State Park (Minas Gerais), State protected area (13,210 ha) – minimum population 226 (Moreira et al. 2003)
Alto Cariri (Minas Gerais/Bahia), privately-owned (18,000 ha) – minimum population 7 (Melo et al. 2002, 2004; Melo 2004).
Fazenda Córrego de Areia (Minas Gerais), privately-owned (494 ha) – minimum population 13 (Hirsch et al. 2002)
Caratinga Biological Station (RPPN Feliciano Miguel Abdala) (Minas Gerais), privately-owned (957 ha) – minimum population 226 (Mendes et al. 2005a,c)
RPPN Mata do Sossego (Minas Gerais), Fundação Biodiversitas (180 ha) – minimum population 41 (Mendes et al. 2005a,c)
Santa Maria de Jetibá (Espírito Santo), privately owned (+2,000 ha, encompasses a group of 13 partially isolated forest fragments) – minimum population 84 (Mendes et al. 2005b)
Fazenda Esmeralda (Minas Gerais), privately owned (44 ha) – minimum population 3 (Melo et al. 2005)

In summary, the northern muriqui can be found in 12 sites, six on private land, three in state protected, and three in federal protected areas. Combined, these areas total about 158,665 ha and a minimum known number of 855 individuals (Mendes et al. 2005a).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:855
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Inhabits the humid coastal forests of the Serra do Mar to the semideciduous forests inland in the states of São Paulo and Minas Gerais.

Almost all of the information available on the ecology, behaviour, reproduction and demography of the northern muriqui comes from a single population at the Caratinga Biological Station (Reserva Particular do Patrimônio Natural Feliciano Miguel Abdala), Minas Gerais. There, muriquis have been systematically monitored and researched since 1982 (Fonseca 1985; Strier 1987a,b, 1993/1994, 1999, 2000; Strier et al. 2002, 2006).

Adult male weight 9.25-9.6 kg (mean 9.4 kg, n=3) (Lemos de Sá and Glander 1993)
Adult female weight 6.9-9.3 kg (mean 8.33 kg, n=3) (Lemos de Sá and Glander 1993)

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species survives in much reduced and isolated populations – none of which alone are believed to be viable in the long term—none exceed 500 individuals, and the largest known is that in the RPPN Feliciano Miguel Abdala (about 230 individuals).

The main threats to the species have been hunting for food and sport accompanied by the widespread destruction of its forests, but although hunting is relatively infrequent today, the rarity and small size of the populations of these animals means that even the loss of a few individuals can have serious impacts. As the number of protected areas increases, hunting will have less of an impact. The remnant populations in the fragmented forests of the montane region of Espírito Santo (Santa Maria do Jetibá) have survived only because hunting has long been discouraged by the local communities there. Despite some fairly extensive remaining forests in the north of its range, very few muriquis survive today, and those in only the remotest areas, because of the predisposition of the local people (in Bahia particularly), to hunting.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species occurs in the following protected areas:

Caparaó National Park, Espírito Santo (31,853 ha) (Gomes and Melo 2005)
Itatiaia National Park, southern Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro (28,155 ha)
Augusto Ruschi Biological Reserve, Espírito Santo (3,573 ha) (Pinto et al. 1993)
Mata Escura Biological Reserve, Minas Gerais (50,890 ha)
Ibitipoca State Park, Minas Gerais (1,488 ha) (Fontes et al. 1996; Moreira et al. 2003; Ferraz et al. 2005)
Rio Doce State Park, Minas Gerais, (35,976 ha)
Serra do Brigadeiro State Park, Minas Gerais (13,210 ha) (Moreira et al. 2003)
RPPN Feliciano Miguel Abdala (Caratinga Biological Station), Minas Gerais (957 ha)
RPPN Mata do Sossego, Minas Gerais (180 ha)

A Population and Habitat Viability Analysis (PHVA) was held for both species of Brachyteles in 1998 (Rylands et al. 1998). This has now resulted in a series of surveys in Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, Espírito Santo and Bahia. As from 1983, the Caratinga Biological Station was the only long-term field for research on this species (Strier and Boubli 2006), but following the PHVA workshop long-term research was also initiated in Espírito Santo, Santa Maria do Jetibá by the Instituto de Pesquisas da Mata Atlântica – IPEMA and the Federal University of Espírito Santo. The use of population viability modeling has been continued since then as a tool for conservation planning for muriquis (Strier 1993/1994; Mendes et al. 2005a; Brito and Grelle 2006).

In 2002, the Brazilian Institute for the Environment (IBAMA) set up the Committee for the Conservation and Management of the Muriqui (Oliveira et al. 2005).

From 2001 to 2003 the Project for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Brazilian Biological Diversity (Projeto de Conservação e Utilização Sustentável da Diversidade Biológica Brasileira – PROBIO), of the Ministry of the Environment (MMA), approved financing for three projects for the conservation and management of the northern muriqui. They are coordinated by three NGOs, the Instituto de Pesquisas da Mata Atlântica – IPEMA, the Fundação Biodiversitas, and the Instituto Dríades. Two important meetings resulted from this, the first in January 2003 in Santa Maria de Jetibá, Espírito Santo, and the second in March 2004 in Belo Horizonte. They provided the information and directives for the elaboration of a management plan for the species (in prep., see Mendes et al. 2005a).

Currently there are research programmes on, and conservation initiatives for, muriquis being carried out in six locations, four in Minas Gerais (RPPN Feliciano Miguel Abdala, RPPN Mata do Sossego, and Serra do Brigadeiro and Rio Doce state parks) and two in Espírito Santo (Caparaó National Park and Santa Maria de Jetibá). These studies and initiatives cover about 90% of the entire population of B. hypoxanthus (see Mendes et al. 2005a). Besides population monitoring and ecologicall/behavioural studies, research is being carried on population genetics (Fagundes 2005; Chaves et al. 2006), parasite incidence and ecology (Stuart and Strier 1995; Pissinatti 2005), and captive breeding, veterinary aspects, nutrition, husbandry and management (Mendes et al. 2005a; Pissinatti 2005).

There is a small but promising captive breeding programme for the species (Coimbra- Filho et al. 1993; Pissinatti et al. 1998; Pissinatti 2005).

This species is listed on Appendix I of CITES.

Citation: Mendes, S.L., de Oliveira, M.M., Mittermeier, R.A. & Rylands, A.B. 2008. Brachyteles hypoxanthus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T2994A9529636. . Downloaded on 29 July 2016.
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