The cap of black-capped capuchins is made of short, erect black hairs that may form 2 ridges or “tufts” on either side of the crown. The shoulders are lighter than the overall body colour, which varies from light to dark brown. The facial pattern varies with the subspecies, except for the black sideburns. The hands and feet are always black. The prehensile tail is darkest at the tip.
The black-capped capuchin has a head-body length of 35 – 49 cm, a tail length of 38 – 49 cm, and a weight of 1.4 – 3.4 kg for females and 1.3 – 4.8 kg for males.
Habitat and Distribution
Tropical lowland, submontane and montane rain forest, seasonally inundated forest, mangroves and savanna forests up to 2700 m are the favoured habitat for this species. The species is found in many protected areas in Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana and Suriname.
Listed as Least Concern as the species is widespread and there are currently no major threats resulting in a significant overall population decline that would warrant listing in a threatened category. However, it is declining in some parts of its range, including southern Pará state, Tocantins state, and northern Mato Grosso. Several recommendations have been made in reference to the conservation of the Margarita Island capuchin, but few of these recommendations have been actioned to date.
Capuchins are omnivorous and consume a wide variety of fruits, seeds and arthropods, frogs, nestlings and even small mammals in their diet. A typical diet might contain around 66 % fruit, 25 % seeds, 7 % pith, 1 % nectar, and animal prey including insects, birds, reptiles, bats, and other mammals up to 900 g in body weight.
Breeding and Lifecycle
Capuchins have a gestation period of 149 – 158 days, infant at 6 months, weaning at 12 months, juvenile at 6 – 24 months, sub adult at 24 – 42 months, and reaching sexual maturity at 84 months for females and 56 months for males. The estrus cycle is around 18 days. Birth interval is around 22 months.
During the breeding season, female capuchins in estrus will follow and solicit the alpha male with calls, expressions and posture. The alpha male will copulate once a day. During the last two days of estrus the alpha male will guard the female. After this period, if given the opportunity the subordinate male/s may attempt to copulate with the female.
Capuchins have a lifespan of up to 40 years.
Like other South American monkeys black-capped capuchins have a prehensile tail which acts as a fifth limb when the capuchin travels through the trees.
Rowe, N. (1996) The Pictorial Guide To Living Primates, Pagonias Press.
Rylands, A.B., Boubli, J.-P., Mittermeier, R.A., Wallace, R.B. & Ceballos-Mago, N. 2008. Cebus apella. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.1. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 13 August 2012.
The Zoo and Aquarium Association acknowledges Perth Zoo for providing the factsheet information above.