There are 40 species in the family Pitheciidae, commonly known as titi monkeys, sakis, and uakaris. The most diverse genus in this family is Callicebus (titi monkeys), with 28 species. There are 5 species of saki monkeys (Pithecia), 5 species of bearded saki monkeys (Chiropotes), and 2 species of uakaris (Cacajao) (Wilson and Reeder, 2005).
Members of Pitheciidae are found in the rainforests of South America, including the Amazon and Orinoco river basins and the Atlantic coastal forest of southeastern Brazil (Grafton, 2004). Titis, sakis, and uakaris are small to medium-sized monkeys. Titis (Callicebus) are the smallest and uakaris (Cacajao) are the largest. The four pitheciine genera are distinct in appearance, but all share a common dental morphology marked by large, laterally splayed canine teeth separated from the incisors by a diastema. The incisors are also angled forward and the molars have low, crenulated occlusal surfaces. This dental morphology is an adaptation to eating hard, heavily protected fruits. Uakaris (Cacajao) and bearded sakis (Chiropotes) are sexually dimorphic and several saki monkey species (Pithecia) are sexually dichromatic. Uakaris (Cacajao) are the most unusual looking pitheciines, with largely naked faces and heads and short tails.
There are 40 species in the family Pitheciidae, commonly known as titi monkeys, sakis, and uakaris. The most diverse genus in this family is Callicebus, the titi monkeys, with 28 species. There are 5 species of saki monkeys (Pithecia), 5 species of bearded saki monkeys (Chiropotes), and 2 species of uakaris (Cacajao).
Titis, sakis, and uakaris are found in the rainforests of South America, including the Amazon and Orinoco river basins and the Atlantic coastal forest of southeastern Brazil.
Biogeographic Regions: neotropical (Native )
Titis, sakis, and uakaris are small to medium-sized monkeys. Titis (Callicebus) are the smallest and uakaris (Cacajao) are the largest. The four pitheciine genera are distinct in appearance, but all share a common dental morphology marked by large, laterally splayed canine teeth separated from the incisors by a diastema. The incisors are also angled forward and the molars have low, crenulated occlusal surfaces. This dental morphology is an adaptation to eating hard, heavily protected fruits. Uakaris (Cacajao) and bearded sakis (Chiropotes) are sexually dimorphic and several saki monkey species (Pithecia) are sexually dichromatic. Pelage color varies from light and thin, in uakaris to dark and woolly in bearded sakis. Uakaris (Cacajao) are the most unusual looking pitheciines, with largely naked faces and heads and short tails, they sometimes have a nearly bald appearance as well.
Head and body length is 230 to 460 mm in Callicebus, 300 to 705 mm in Pithecia, 327 to 511 mm in Chiropotes, and 300 to 579 mm in g.Cacajao. Tail length is 260 to 560 mm in <<g.Callicebus, 255 to 545 mm in Pithecia, 300 to 507 mm in Chiropotes, and 125 to 210 mm in Cacajao. Callicebus species weigh up to 2 kg, Pithecia species weigh 0.7 to 1.7 kg, Chiropotes species weigh 2 to 4 kg, and Cacajao species weight from 2.7 to 3.5 kg.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry
Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike; male larger; sexes colored or patterned differently
Titis and sakis are highly arboreal and found in a wide variety of forests, including highland and lowland forests, dry forests, varzea, savanna forests, liana forests, swamps, inundated forests, and forests along river and lake edges. Chiropotes and Cacajao species are restricted to fewer forest types, including terra firme and higher elevation moist and savanna forests.
Habitat Regions: tropical ; terrestrial
Terrestrial Biomes: forest ; rainforest
Other Habitat Features: riparian
Titis, sakis, and uakaris are all specialized for eating large, hard fruits, often to get at the seeds within. Titis (Callicebus) eat more fruit pulp than other genera. Sakis and uakaris eat mainly large, indehiscent fruits with few large seeds, such as brazil nuts. Pitheciid species also supplement their diet with leaves and insects.
Primary Diet: herbivore (Frugivore , Granivore )
Titis, sakis, and uakaris may help disperse the seeds of some of the fruits they eat.
Ecosystem Impact: disperses seeds
Titis, sakis, and uakaris may be preyed on by large diurnal raptors, who hunt above forest canopies.
Life History and Behavior
Titis, sakis, and uakaris use vocalizations extensively to communicate with conspecifics and defend territorial boundaries. Titi pairs are the most territorial and males emit loud vocalizations to advertise territorial boundaries. Male and female duets are also used to communicate territorial boundaries. Grooming is very important in reinforcing social bonds. In titis (Callicebus) individuals sit together with their tails entwined and may spend up to 10% of their time grooming each other. Chiropotes and Cacajao species exhibit a tail-wagging behavior that shows excitement. Red uakaris, Cacajao calvus, have one of the widest ranges of facial expressions in primates.
Communication Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical
Other Communication Modes: duets
Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; chemical
Titis (Callicebus), the smallest of the pitheciids, have lived more than 25 years in captivity. Uakaris (Cacajao) have lived more than 31 years in captivity and sakis (Pithecia) up to 35 years. Bearded sakis (Chiropotes) are estimated to live more than 18 years in the wild.
Mating systems in titis, sakis, and uakaris are variable. Titi monkeys (Callicebus) live in small groups made up of a monogamous pair and their offspring. All other genera live in multi-male, multi-female groups of various sizes and mating is promiscuous. Saki monkey females (Pithecia) often have help from subadult females in raising their young.
Mating System: monogamous ; polygynandrous (promiscuous) ; cooperative breeder
The reproductive biology of pitheciids is variable. Most species reproduce seasonally and give birth to single offspring, although Pithecia albicans is reported to reproduce throughout the year. Gestation lengths are reported from 150 to 180 days and lactation from 3 to 6 months in titis (Callicebus) or up to 2 years in uakaris Cacajao. Titis are born at approximately 70 grams. Interbirth intervals range from once yearly in titis (Callicebus) to every 2 years in uakaris (Cacajao). Bearded sakis (Chiropotes) become sexually mature at 4 years old and titis (Callicebus) at 3 to 4 years old. Independence is reported at 10 to 13 months in Chiropotes.
Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; year-round breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; viviparous
In Pithecia, Chiropotes, and Cacajao species, males do not generally care for their young. Although Pithecia fathers may groom their young and females may have help from subadult females. Callicebus is unusual among New World primates in that males provide the majority of care for young, only returning them to their mothers to nurse. Young are typically carried ventrally for their first few months, after which they are transferred to being carried on the back and begin to locomote on their own away from caregivers.
Parental Investment: altricial ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Male, Female); pre-independence (Provisioning: Male, Female, Protecting: Male, Female); post-independence association with parents; extended period of juvenile learning
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage
Specimens with Sequences:15
Specimens with Barcodes:15
Species With Barcodes:7
Two species of titi monkeys (Callicebus) are critically endangered, C. barbarabrownae and C. coimbrai, both are known only from small forest fragments. Brown bearded sakis, Chiropotes satanus, are endangered as a result of forest fragmentation. All members of Pitheciidae are on CITES Appendix II.
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
There are no known adverse effects of titis, sakis, and uakaris on humans.
Titis, sakis, and uakaris are hunted for meat and captured for the pet trade. They are important members of native forest ecosystems and can be important in drawing ecotourism interest in an area.
Positive Impacts: pet trade ; food ; ecotourism
The Pitheciidae are one of the five families of New World monkeys now recognised. Formerly, they were included in the family Atelidae. The family includes the titis, saki monkeys and uakaris. Most species are native to the Amazonia region of Brazil, with some being found from Colombia in the north to Bolivia in the south.
Pithecids are small to medium-sized monkeys, ranging from 23 cm in head-body length for the smaller titis, to 44-49 cm for the uakaris. They have medium to long fur, in a wide range of colors, often with contrasting patches, especially on the face.
They are diurnal and arboreal animals, found in tropical forests from low-lying swamp to mountain slopes. They are predominantly herbivorous, eating mostly fruit and seeds, although some species will also eat a small number of insects. Sakis and uakaris have a diastema between the canine and premolar teeth, but the titis, which have unusually small canines for New World monkeys, do not. All species have the dental formula: 18.104.22.168
Females give birth to a single young after a gestation period of between four to six months, depending on species. The uakaris and bearded sakis are polygamous, living in groups of 8-30 individuals. Each group has multiple males, which establish a dominance hierarchy amongst themselves. The titis and Pithecia sakis, by contrast, are monogamous and live in much smaller family groups.
There are 54 currently recognized extant species of pithecid monkey, grouped into two subfamilies and four genera. Seven extinct genera known from the fossil record are placed in the subfamily Pitheciinae and extending the age of the family to the Miocene.
- Family Pitheciidae: titis, sakis and uakaris
- Subfamily Callicebinae
- Genus Callicebus, Titis
- White-eared titi, Callicebus (Callicebus) donacophilus
- Rio Beni titi, Callicebus (Callicebus) modestus
- Rio Mayo titi, Callicebus (Callicebus) oenanthe
- Ollala Brothers' titi, Callicebus (Callicebus) olallae
- White-coated titi, Callicebus (Callicebus) pallescens
- Baptista Lake titi, Callicebus (Callicebus) baptista
- Prince Bernhard's titi, Callicebus (Callicebus) bernhardi
- Brown titi, Callicebus (Callicebus) brunneus
- Ashy black titi, Callicebus (Callicebus) cinerascens
- Hoffmanns's titi, Callicebus (Callicebus) hoffmannsi
- Red-bellied titi, Callicebus (Callicebus) moloch
- Vieira's titi, Callicebus (Callicebus) vieirai
- Milton's titi, Callcebus (Callicebus) miltoni
- Barbara Brown's titi, Callicebus (Callicebus) barbarabrownae
- Coimbra Filho's titi, Callicebus (Callicebus) coimbrai
- Coastal black-handed titi, Callicebus (Callicebus) melanochir
- Black-fronted titi, Callicebus (Callicebus) nigrifrons
- Atlantic titi, Callicebus (Callicebus) personatus
- Chestnut-bellied titi, Callicebus (Callicebus) caligatus
- Coppery titi, Callicebus (Callicebus) cupreus
- Madidi titi, Callicebus (Callicebus) aureipalatii
- White-tailed titi, Callicebus (Callicebus) discolor
- Hershkovitz's titi, Callicebus (Callicebus) dubius
- Ornate titi, Callicebus (Callicebus) ornatus
- Stephen Nash's titi, Callicebus (Callicebus) stephennashi
- Lucifer titi, Callicebus (Torquatus) lucifer
- Black titi, Callicebus (Torquatus) lugens
- Colombian black-handed titi, Callicebus (Torquatus) medemi
- Rio Purus titi, Callicebus (Torquatus) purinus
- Red-headed titi, Callicebus (Torquatus) regulus
- Collared titi, Callicebus (Torquatus) torquatus
- †Genus Xenothrix
- †Jamaican monkey, Xenothrix mcgregori
- †Genus Paralouatta, Cuban Monkeys
- †Paralouatta varonai
- †Paralouatta marianae
- †Genus Antillothrix
- †Hispaniolan monkey, Antillothrix bernensis
- Genus Callicebus, Titis
- Subfamily Pitheciinae
- Genus Cacajao, Uakaris
- Genus †Carlocebus
- †Carlocebus carmenensis
- †Carlocebus intermedius
- Genus †Cebupithecia
- †Cebupithecia sarmientoi
- Genus Chiropotes, Bearded Sakis
- Genus †Homunculus
- †Homunculus patagonicus
- Genus †Nuciruptor
- †Nuciruptor rubricae
- Genus Pithecia, Sakis
- Equatorial saki, Pithecia aequatorialis (Hershkovitz, 1987)
- White-footed saki or Buffy saki , Pithecia albicans (Gray, 1860)
- Cazuza's saki, Pithecia cazuzai sp. nov. 2014
- Golden-faced saki, Pithecia chrysocephala (I. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1850)
- Hairy saki, Pithecia hirsuta (Spix, 1823)
- Burnished saki, Pithecia inusta (Spix, 1823)
- Rio Tapajós saki or Gray's bald-faced saki, Pithecia irrorata (Gray, 1842)
- Isabel's saki, Pithecia isabela sp. nov. 2014
- Monk saki, Pithecia monachus (É. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1812)
- Miller's saki, Pithecia milleri (J. A. Allen, 1914)
- Mittermeier's Tapajós saki, Pithecia mittermeieri sp. nov. 2014
- Napo saki, Pithecia napensis (Lönnberg, 1938)
- White-faced saki, Pithecia pithecia (Linnaeus 1766)
- Pissinatti’s bald-faced saki, Pithecia pissinattii sp. nov. 2014
- Rylands' bald-faced saki, Pithecia rylandsi sp. nov. 2014
- Vanzolini's bald-faced saki, Pithecia vanzolinii (Hershkovitz, 1987)
- Genus †Proteropithecia
- †Proteropithecia neuquenensis
- Genus †Soriacebus
- †Soriacebus ameghinorum
- †Soriacebus adrianae
- Subfamily Callicebinae
*Newly described species.
- Groves, C. P. (2005). Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M, eds. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 141–148. OCLC 62265494. ISBN 0-801-88221-4.
- Macdonald, D., ed. (1984). The Encyclopedia of Mammals. New York: Facts on File. pp. 358–361. ISBN 0-87196-871-1.
- Boubli, J. P., M. N. F. Da Silva, M. V. Amado, T. Hrbek, F. B. Pontual, and I. P. Farias (2008). "A taxonomic reassessment of black uakari monkeys, Cacajao melanocephalus group, Humboldt (1811), with the description of two new species". International Journal of Primatology 29: 723–749. doi:10.1007/s10764-008-9248-7.
- The Paleobiology Database Pitheciidae entry accessed on 6 April 2010
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