C. o. olivaceus extends south from there throughout the Guianas it would seem (excepting a possible hiatus in French Guiana where the form castaneus might occur), but the limits to its range in Brazil are unclear. C. o. olivaceus, type locality São Joaquim, upper Rio Branco, Roraima, Brazil, is the form occurring in the Venezuelan Amazon (Bodini and Pérez-Hernández 1987) and to the south and east it perhaps extends across the Rio Branco into Brazil, limited in the north by the Serra Parima and Serra Pacaraima, meeting with C. o. olivaceus somewhere in northern Pará or Amapá, but this is conjecture. Hill (1960) extends the range of C. o. olivaceus as far as the Rio Parú, a north bank tributary of the Amazon just above the Rio Jari. In Suriname, C. o. olivaceus is almost entirely restricted to the interior. Like Chiropotes and Ateles, it just enters the old coastal plain in a small part of western Surinam (Mittermeier 1977). Sussman and Phillips-Conroy (1995) indicated that it occurs throughout Guyana, and there is no evidence to suggest otherwise for French Guiana.
Cebus o. brunneus probably occurs throughout the Cordillera de la Costa and it would seem the Cordillera de Merida of extreme north-western Venezuela (Bodini and Pérez-Hernández 1987).
Cebus o. apiculatus is distributed throughout central Venezuela, south of the Orinoco between the ríos Caroni and Ventuari (Bodini and Pérez-Hernández 1987).
Cebus o. nigrivittatus occurs in the Venezuelan Amazon, north of the Rio Orinoco, east into Roraima, and across upper the Rio Branco, restricted to the south of the Serra Pacaraima and the highlands along the southern boundaries of the Guyana to the Rio Paru do Oeste. It is not known which subspecies of Cebus olivaceus occurs in northern Pará and Amapá in Brazil, but possibly the Rio Jari marks the boundary between C. o. olivaceus (to the east) and C. o. nigrivittatus (to the west).
Bodini and Pérez-Hernández (1987) indicate an as yet undescribed form north of the Rio Orinoco, and C. o. apiculatus west of the Rio Caroni, extending west to the Río Orinoco.
Weeping capuchins are found in South America. Their range extends from the northern neotropics to northwestern Venezuela to the southern reaches of the Amazon Basin (Eisenberg and Redford, 1989). They exist in dry deciduous forests on the llanos of Venezuela and mature tropical forests of Guyana (Nowak, 1999).
Biogeographic Regions: neotropical (Native )
Weeping capuchins are similar in body size to small dogs, about 500 mm in length. The tail in this species is semiprehensile and is roughly the same length as the body, making an overall length of approximately 840 mm (Eisenberg and Redford, 1989).
Males and females generally weigh around 2.5 to 2.8 kg, but the males may weigh about 800 g more. The body is a mostly off-white to pale buff in color. The head is the same color as the body, but has a black to dark gray wedge-shaped patch extending from the forehead backwards over the cranium. The forearms also exhibit this dark black to gray color. The tail is black-tipped and is often carried coiled at the tip. This "ring-tail" is strong enough to support the entire body weight for long periods and is often used while feeding to free up the hands (Nowak, 1999).
Range mass: 1100 to 4300 g.
Average mass: 2500-2810 g.
Range length: 605 to 1120 mm.
Average length: 840 mm.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry
Sexual Dimorphism: male larger
Habitat and Ecology
The best information available on the ecology and behaviour of C. olivaceus comes from studies of a population on a cattle ranch, Hato Masaguaral, in low, seasonally dry gallery forest (14–23 m in height) in the Venezuelan llanos, pioneered by Oppenheimer and Oppenheimer (1973) and continued by Robinson (1981, 1984a,b, 1986, 1988a,b; De Ruiter (1986), Srikosomatara (1987), Fragaszy (1986, 1990), O’Brien (1990), and others. Miller (1996a,b, 1998) has carried out a study over three years of the feeding ecology and social behaviour of the species in another ranch in the Venezuelan llanos, Hato Piñero.
The species lives in multimale-multifemale groups of 8-40 individuals; generally larger than C. apella. Miller (1996b) made a special study of the effects of group size on seasonal foraging costs, intergoup and intragroup competition and aggression. Her two study groups ranged in size from 15-18 (1-2 adult males and 0-4 adult females) and 35-39 (5-6 adult males and 17-19 adult females) over two years of her study. Muckenhirn et al. (1975) counted 11 groups in Guyana which ranged in size from 6-15 and averaged 9.0 per group. Two groups accurately counted by Oppenheimer and Oppenheimer (1973) in Venezuela contained 19 (one adult male, one subadult male, eight females, six juveniles, three infants) and 33 animals (four adult males, three subadult males, eight females, 12 juveniles, six infants). Eleven groups observed at Hato Masaguaral ranged from eight to more than 40 animals (De Ruiter 1986; Robinson 1986) and the group of 22 animals studied by Fragaszy (1986) contained three adult males. The groups studied by Robinson (1988a) all had more females than males. This resulted from a bias in the birth sex ratio, higher female than male survivorship (irrespective of group size) between the ages of 3 and 7 when the males disperse, and differences in maturation rates between the sexes. Males and especially females form quite stable dominance hierarchies in the group. The highest-ranking female is dominant to all except for the highest-ranking male (Robinson 1981). Females may sometimes emigrate, and males emigrate from their natal groups usually between the age of two and eight, but do not appear to reach adult size until they are about 15, and even then may remain reproductively inactive if they have not assumed a dominant position in a new group (Robinson and Janson 1987).
A group in the Voltzberg study area of Mittermeier and van Roosmalen (1981) covered roughly 100 ha, although this was only a small portion of the group's range. Robinson (1986) recorded a range size of 275 ha (over 14 months) for his group of about 20 animals at Hato Masaguaral.
Less information on diet is available for C. olivaceus than for any other Guianan primate. They eat fruits, seeds, insects and other arthropods, supplemented by some leaves and flowers. At Hato Masaguaral, Robinson (1986) recorded that fruits, mostly ripe and fleshy, constituted the largest category of food items (56%), and included 50 species from 30 families, especially Moraceae and Rubiaceae. Fig trees (Ficus) which fruit throughout the year, were a staple almost every month. Buds, leaves and shoots were infrequent items in the diet, and were generally chewed and the fibrous remains spat out. They spend a large amount of time foraging for insects and small animal prey. Robinson (1986) recorded that they spent almost 70% of their day searching for and processing food. Foraging behaviour, including age and sex differences, is described by Fragaszy (1986). The range of animal prey is enormous, and includes snails, arthropods including spiders, millipedes, and insects (cockroaches, mantids, stick insects, termites, grasshoppers, cicadas and scale insects, caterpillars, beetles and their grubs, ants, bees and wasps), frogs and their eggs, iguanas, bird’s eggs and nestlings and even an adult ground dove (Columbina talpacoti), and squirrels (Sciureus granatensis). The relative proportions of different items in the diet changed throughout the year. Invertebrates replaced ripe fruit as the chief item in the diet as the number of fruiting species declined (November and December). The beginning of the rainy season (April, May) was marked by a flush of new leaves and an increase in phytophagous insects taken by the monkeys. The amount of fruit in the diet peaked in the late wet season, declining towards the beginning of the dry season.
Unlike the tufted capuchins which are often seen with squirrel monkeys, C. olivaceus groups rarely associate with other species although,
The data currently available are insufficient to determine if C. olivaceus has a distinct breeding season. Newborn infants have been seen in the Raleighvallen-Voltzberg Nature Reserve in December and early January, in the middle of the wet season (Mittermeier 1977). In northern Venezuela, the birth season is from May to August, during the wet season (Robinson and Janson 1987). Males reach maturity in about eight years but reach fully adult size at about 12, whereas females become reproductively active at about six years of age (Oppenheimer and Oppenheimer 1973; Robinson 1988a). Adulthood lasts about 30 years in females and 24 in males (Robinson 1988a). They give birth to single young, which maintain close contact with their mothers for the first nine months (Levy and Bodini 1986). Vocalizations and a number of behaviour patterns, including such as urine rubbing, “bouncing”, tooth grinding, and head-shaking are described in the pioneer study by Oppenheimer and Oppenheimer (1973; see also Freese and Oppenheimer 1981) and a detailed analysis of their vocalizations was carried out Robinson (1984b).
Weeping capuchins are found in typical llanos habitat of semi deciduous, dry tropical forests.They usually use the lower to middle layers of the forest in order to hunt for food as well as flee from predators. Capuchins use the forest floor and turn over leaf litter in search of small vertebrates and invertebrates. They show a broad tolrerance for habitat types (Eisenberg and Redford, 1989).
Range elevation: 500 to 2700 m.
Average elevation: 1000-1800 m.
Habitat Regions: tropical ; terrestrial
Terrestrial Biomes: forest ; rainforest ; mountains
Foraging and dietary patters of C. olivaceus are related to the group size and also to the season in which the animals are observed. It is believed that perceived predation risk plays a significant role in the pattern of food intake. Predation may also influence individual fitness, not only directly, but by its impact on foraging success (Miller and Teaford, 2000).
Weeping capuchins consume fruits, palm nuts, seeds, berries, and many varieties of small vertebrates and invertebrates. A strict hierarchy determines the priority of access to food of the younger capuchins (Eisenberg and Redford, 1989). Other foods may include flowering buds, shoots, barks, gums, arachnids, eggs, and even other small mammals. Some coastal species may also include oysters, crabs, and other marine life (Nowak, 1999).
Animal Foods: mammals; insects; terrestrial non-insect arthropods; mollusks; aquatic crustaceans
Plant Foods: leaves; wood, bark, or stems; seeds, grains, and nuts; fruit
Primary Diet: omnivore
Weeping capuchins probably help to control insect populations. They are also important in dispersing the seeds of fruits they eat. As a prey species, these monkeys probably affect predator populations.
Ecosystem Impact: disperses seeds
Weeping capuchins have only a few predators in the wild. They are arboreal and can easily escape from ground predators. The major predator of these monkeys are humans. Live capuchins are in demand because of their mild temperments. They are used as pets, in zoo exhibits and may also be used as a food source for many natives.
Weeping capuchins are a favorite food for some snakes as well as some of the larger tropical rodents (Eisenberg and Redford, 1989).
This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
Known prey organisms
This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
Life History and Behavior
In captivity a capuchin may live as long as 55 years. Capuchins in the wild live an average of 34 to 36 years (Nowak, 1999).
Status: captivity: 45 to 55 years.
Status: captivity: 50-52 years.
Status: wild: 30 to 47 years.
Status: wild: 40-44 years.
Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
These animals mate polygynously, with the dominant male in the troop copulating with all of the receptive females.
Mating System: polygynous
Weeping capuchins are polygamous. There is one dominant male who is responsible for mating with all receptive females in the troop.
Males reach reproductive maturity at 7 years and females are able to bare young in their fourth year (Eisenberg and Redford, 1989). Mature females produce offspring every 19 months on average, although it is not uncommon for females to give birth in successive years. (DiBitella and Janson, 2001). Females give birth to 1 young after a gestation period of 160 days. The infant weighs approximately 200 to 500 g and is able to cling to its mother's hair only moments after being born (Nowak, 1999).
Breeding season: Breeding season: Oct. -Feb. during peak food availability
Range gestation period: 145 to 170 days.
Average gestation period: 160 days.
Range weaning age: 1.5 to 4 months.
Average weaning age: 2.35 months.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 4-6 months.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 7-9 months.
Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; year-round breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); viviparous
Average number of offspring: 1.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
Sex: female: 2190 days.
Female capuchins are the primary care givers. The male may invest some time in foraging for the female but invests little or nothing in parental care (Nowak, 1999).
Parental Investment: altricial ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female)
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- 2003Least Concern(IUCN 2003)
- 2000Lower Risk/least concern
This species is not threatened.
US Federal List: no special status
CITES: no special status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern
Cebus olivaceus olivaceus
Tumucumaque National Park (3,882,376 ha)
Cabo Orange National Park (630,017 ha)
Lago Piratuba Biological Reserve (394,223 ha)
Rio Trombetas Biological Reserve (409,578 ha)
Uatumã Biological Reserve (942,786 ha)
Jari Ecological Station (207,370 ha)
Niquia Ecological Station (282,803 ha)
Parc amazonien de Guyane (3,300,000 ha)
Brownsberg Nature Park (8,400 ha) (Mittermeier and van Roosmalen 1982; Norconk et al. 2003)
Raleighvallen-Voltzberg Nature Reserve (56,000 ha) (Mittermeier and van Roosmalen 1982)
Tafelberg Nature Reserve (140,000 ha) (Mittermeier and van Roosmalen 1982)
Eilerts de Haan Gebergte Nature Reserve (220,000 ha) (Mittermeier and van Roosmalen 1982)
Sipaliwini Savanna Nature Reserve (100,000 ha) (Mittermeier and van Roosmalen 1982)
Brinckheuvel Nature Reserve (6,000 ha) (within range)
Kaieteur Falls National Park (11,655 ha)
Iwokrama Forest Reserve (364,000 ha) (Sussman and Phillips-Conroy 1995)
Canaima National Park (3,000,000 ha)
Jaua-Sarisariñama National Park (330,000 ha)
Cebus o. brunneus
Sierra Nevada National Park
Henri Pittier National Park
El Tama National Park?
Yurubi National Park?
Yacambu National Park?
Guatopo National Park?
C. o. nigrivittatus
Yapacana National Park
Duida-Marahuaca National Park
Aguaro-Guariquito National Park?
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
Weeping capuchins may carry many forms of human pathagens. They may also be able to transmit them to other animals or pet species (Nowak, 1999).
Negative Impacts: causes or carries domestic animal disease
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
Weeping capuchins have been sought by many people as pets. They are highly intelligent and can be trained to do tricks and perform tasks (Nowak, 1999). Many capuchins are kept in zoos or are trained to be part of TV programs. A particular weeping capuchin, "Marcelle" had a role in the television series "Friends." The character who owned this monkey was eventually forced to give him to the San Diego Zoo, because, as primatologists will tell you, MONKEYS DO NOT MAKE GOOD PETS.
Positive Impacts: pet trade