DixPix Photographs

     

TROPICAL CENTRAL AMERICA

 
     
  Fauna-  MONKEYS  

 

The forests of tropical Central America do not have the great variety of primates found in the nearby Amazon Basin, but those available are popular and engaging.  Most species are under duress as the result of habitat loss, etc., but only a few are actually endangered, so far.  In general they are known as 'New World Monkeys' to distinguish them from those of Africa and Asia; a major difference being that many American species have 'prehensile tails', that can be wrapped around branches to assist in arboreal travel.

Monkeys in general are called Monos in Spanish, although in Central America the more Amazon term 'Mico' is also encountered.  All species have one or more specific local names.

 

Cebus Capucinus belong to a group of monkeys known as Capuchins, resulting from a similarity to the appearance of the Capuchin Friars, a sub-order of the Franciscan Monks. Click to see big picture (640x473 pixels; 74 KB)
More specifically they are the White Faced Capuchins, or Mono Carablanco. There is a confusing array of other species in the Cebus genus, but in Central America, C. Capucinus dominates. Click to see big picture (640x448 pixels; 98 KB)
Not only are the Capuchins one of the most distinctive group of New World Monkeys, they are also considered the smartest, and have been observed to employ tools. Click to see big picture (554x480 pixels; 141 KB)
A Black Handed Spider Monkey (Ateles geoffroyi) contemplates life in the grounds of the botanical gardens of the Panama Canal Zone.  It is found from Mexico to Columbia. Click to see big picture (599x480 pixels; 158 KB)
The official Spanish name for Spider Monkey is Mono Araña, but it has collected a host of local names.  This one in Nicaragua shows off the use of its prehensile tail.  They really do have a 'spidery' appearance. Click to see big picture (360x480 pixels; 86 KB)
There are about five subspecies of Ateles geoffroyi for taxonomists to argue over, and a range of color variations.  There are also many other Ateles species, but this one dominates Central America. Click to see big picture (640x385 pixels; 113 KB)
Hanging comfortably by its tail, a spider monkey looks over Lago Nicaragua from what is aptly named Mono Island. Click to see big picture (640x441 pixels; 141 KB)
We catch up with the Panamanian Rufous-naped Tamarin (Saguinus geoffroyi) at the Paradise Animal Rehab. Center near the town of Volcancito in Panama. Click to see big picture (522x480 pixels; 119 KB)
This Tamarin is the Smallest monkey in Panama, with a range extending into Colombia.  It is diurnal and arboreal.  This side view shows the 'rufous nape' to advantage.  The local name is Mono Titi. Click to see big picture (640x306 pixels; 109 KB)
At the Jatun Sacha Reserve in Ecuador, a Saddle-back Tamarin (Saguinus fuscicollis) checks out our invasion of their territory.  Found on the eastern side of the Andes from Colombia to Bolivia, it is also known as the Brown-mantled Tamarin and locally by names such as Mico Bebeleche.
Introducing the Central American Squirrel Monkey, the name sometimes being prefixed with 'black crowned' or 'red backed'.  In Spanish it is the Mono Ardilla, with many local names.  The latin handle is Saimiri oerstedii. Click to see big picture (619x480 pixels; 90 KB)
This squirrel monkey has a limited range, the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica and adjacent Panama.  Its numbers have been in decline due to logging, hunting and the pet trade. Click to see big picture (547x440 pixels; 105 KB)
The photo show why the terms 'black crowned' and 'red backed' are both applicable.  Most other species of Squirrel Monkeys hang out in the Amazon, but there is said to be a grey-crowned subspecies on the central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Click to see big picture (631x480 pixels; 83 KB)
The Mantled Howler Monkeys are the largest and loudest in Central America. Meet Alouatta palliata Click to see big picture (640x467 pixels; 113 KB)
It is the males who howl, a method of keeping their group together and marking territory.  This is clearly a male and is calling.  The official Spanish name is Mono Aullador, but it seems more commonly referred to as Mono Congo. Click to see big picture (519x480 pixels; 93 KB)
The female howlers are smaller.  The species eats exclusively leaves. Click to see big picture (547x480 pixels; 99 KB)
A diet of leaves means lots of poop droppings from the trees.  At the Paradise Animal Rehab. Center in Western Panama, they use diapers. Click to see big picture (640x347 pixels; 47 KB)
But why travel by swinging from tree to tree when you can walk far and wide on telephone lines.  The photo also shows why this howler species is sometimes called the Golden Mantled Howler. Click to see big picture (582x480 pixels; 160 KB)
And the phone lines are a convenient place to congregate.  In this case near Costa Rica's Laguna de Arenal. Click to see big picture (640x382 pixels; 151 KB)
A Mono Congo mother suckling her young. Click to see big picture (425x480 pixels; 62 KB)
And when the young are a bit older, they start doing antics.  That seems pretty common across the spectrum of us primates. Click to see big picture (339x480 pixels; 88 KB)