Central American squirrel monkey

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Central American squirrel monkey
Black-crowned Central American squirrel monkey, Saimiri oerstedii oerstedii.jpg

Central American squirrel monkey ( Saimiri oerstedii )

Partial order : Monkey (anthropoidea)
without rank: New World Monkey (Platyrrhini)
Family : Capuchins (Cebidae)
Subfamily : Saimiriinae
Genre : Squirrel monkey ( Saimiri )
Type : Central American squirrel monkey
Scientific name
Saimiri oerstedii
Reinhardt , 1872

The Central American squirrel monkey or red-backed squirrel monkey ( Saimiri oerstedii ) is a species of primate from the group of New World monkeys .


Central American squirrel monkeys, like all squirrel monkeys, are relatively small, slender primates. They reach a head body length of 28 to 33 centimeters, the tail is 33 to 43 centimeters long. Their weight is around 0.6 to 0.9 kilograms, with the males becoming a little heavier than the females. The back and limbs are colored orange-red, the underside is yellowish-white. The face, throat and tufts of ears are white, the area around the mouth is dark. The color of the cap is variable: in the subspecies Saimiri oerstedii oerstedii it is black-brown in males and black in females, in the subspecies S. o. Citrinellus it is gray-green in males and black-gray in females.

distribution and habitat

Central American squirrel monkeys are native to Central America, their range includes the Pacific coast of Costa Rica and western Panama . Their habitat are forests, although they can be found in various forest types, such as rain , gallery and mangrove forests .

Lifestyle and diet

These primates are diurnal and mostly stay in the trees, especially in the lower regions. They are fast and skilled climbers who usually move on all fours.

They live in large groups of around 40 to 60 animals. The groups are made up of many males and females and the common offspring. There is relatively little aggression within the group. The females have relatively little bond with each other and do not establish a hierarchy. The ranking of the males is weak, weaker than that of other squirrel monkeys.

Central American squirrel monkeys feed primarily on insects and fruits, the proportion of which can vary depending on the season. Hunting insects takes up most of the day.


The mating season lies in the months of August to October, the males gain up to 20% in weight during this time and can obviously increase their mating success. After a gestation period of around 150 days, the female usually gives birth to a single young between February and April. The births within a group are synchronized and take place within two weeks. After around four months, the young are independent, females reach sexual maturity at 2.5 and males at 3.5. While the males remain in their birth group, the females have to leave it - an arrangement that is rare among primates, but the reverse is far more common.


The main threat to the Central American squirrel monkeys is the destruction of their habitat by clearing forests. As a result, their range has been greatly reduced and fragmented. The IUCN lists the species as "endangered" ( vulnerable ). The situation of the subspecies S. o. Citrinellus is critical , whose range in Costa Rica is highly fragmented and whose total population is estimated at a maximum of 1300 to 1800 animals.


Web links

Commons : Central American Squirrel Monkey  - collection of images, videos, and audio files