New World Monkeys live in tropical forests of southern Mexico, Central, and South America. They are divided into two main family groups.
The first group, Callithricidae consist of marmosets and tamarins—both monkeys with claws. The second larger group, Cebidae, has four subfamilies: Cebinae – squirrel and capuchin monkey; Actinae – douroucouli (night or owl) and titi monkey; Atelinae – howler and spider monkey; Pithecinae – uakari and saki. These latter monkeys have nails, not claws. New World Monkeys have flat noses.
Tamarins and marmoset often give birth to twins, and sometimes triplets. Also, it’s the dad who carries the babies around, not the mother. These monkeys eat tree sap. They range in weight from only 3 to 5 ounces to 2 pounds.
The second family group of monkeys not only include more kinds, but are larger in size. Their weight ranges from 1 and a half pounds to 33 pounds. The biggest is the howler monkey, who also is the loudest—their calls can be heard almost 2 miles!
Capuchin monkeys were used as “organ grinder” monkeys. Today they are being trained to help the disabled. (See Helping Hands Monkeys' website for more information.)
The douroucouli’s tail is almost as long as its body. Its large eyes and round, flat face give it the nickname of owl monkey.
Ukaris have bald faces and short tales. Sakis can make long jumps and sleep curled up like a cat.
Fun New World Monkey Facts
- Douroucouli (night monkeys) are the only ones who are nocturnal.
- Marmosets and tamarins don’t have prehensile tails.
- Capuchins rub their fur with crushed millipedes as a mosquito repellant!
- New World Monkeys live in trees; the term is arboreal.
- The biggest threat to New World Monkeys is loss of habitat. Buying brazil nuts, which can only be harvested in healthy rain forests, helps encourage maintenance of their habitat.
- A group of monkeys is a “troop.”
The Primates: New World Monkeys
San Diego Zoo