Tufted Capuchin Monkey

Citron Crested Cockatoo

Scientific Name: Cebus paella
   
Wild Status:

Least Concern

About Me:


Distribution:
South America

It can be found in many different kinds of environment, including moist tropical and subtropical forest, dry forest, and disturbed or secondary forest.
The tufted capuchin (Cebus apella), also known as brown capuchin or black-capped capuchin is a New World primate from South America.

Physical Characteristics:
The tufted capuchin is more powerfully built than the other capuchins, with rougher fur and a short, thick tail. It has a bundle of long, hardened hair on the forehead that can be raised as a sort of "wig". The fur is brownish gray, with the belly being somewhat lighter-colored than the rest of the body. The hands and feet are black. The tail is strong and can be used as a grasping tail.
The tufted capuchin has a head-body length of 32 to 57 centimetres (13 to 22 in), a tail length of 38 to 56 centimetres (15 to 22 in), and a weight of 1.9 to 4.8 kilograms (4.2 to 11 lb), with the males generally being larger and heavier than the females.

Behaviour & Ecology:
The tufted capuchin is a diurnal, arboreal primate species, but it often forages on the ground to search for food or to walk longer distances between trees that are too far apart to jump.

The tufted capuchin lives in groups of two to twenty or more animals. A single group usually contains at least one adult male, but mixed groups with multiple males do also occur. In that case, one of the males is dominant. He accepts only a few monkeys in his direct surroundings, mainly younger animals and a few females. The dominant male and the group members that are close to him have the privilege to eat first in case of food scarcity, while subordinate monkeys have to wait until they are ready.
After a gestation period of 180 days, one young is born, or incidentally a twin. This young, which weighs only 200 to 250 grams, is carried on the back of its mother. The mother feeds her child for 9 months, but the young is sexually immature until its seventh year, which is quite late for a primate of its size.

Important natural enemies of the capuchin are large birds of prey. They are so afraid of those birds, that they even become alarmed when a harmless bird flies over.

Diet:
A recently discovered characteristic of one population this species is that it uses stones as a tool to open hard nuts. First it chooses ripe nuts from a nut palm. It uses its teeth to strip off the nut's fibrous husk. Then it leaves the nut to dry for about a week. When the nut is dry, the monkey lays the nut on a large, flat rock or fallen tree, hammering the nut with a suitable stone until the nut cracks. The hammer stones are often large enough to require lifting with both hands. The anvil rock is often pock-marked with hollows as a result of repeated use.

Besides nuts, the capuchin also eats fruit, insects, larvae, eggs, young birds, frogs, lizards, and even bats. They are also known to chase cats.

The tufted capuchin looks for its food in groups. As soon as one of the group members has found something edible, he or she may make a large whistling sound, dependent upon the proximity of other individuals and abundance of the food resource, so that the other monkeys know that there is something to eat. The composition of the group is very well organized, and is determined by rank in the hierarchy. The dominant male often resides somewhere in the middle of the group just behind the front line, so that it is safer when a predator attacks. The vanguard is composed of higher-ranked females who are tolerated by the dominant male. They have the privilege to reach the food first, but they are also the most vulnerable when a predator attacks.

Tool Use & Manufacture:
The tufted capuchin has been observed using containers to hold water, using sticks (to dig nuts, to dip for syrup, to catch ants, to reach food), using sponges to absorb juice, using stones as hammer and chisel to penetrate a barrier and using stones as hammer and anvil to crack nuts. While some of these tasks are relatively simple by cognitive standards (e.g. using a stick to catch ants), others, like cracking nuts with hammer and anvil are only exceeded in complexity by chimpanzees.