Saki monkeys are distributed across neotropical South America in tropical forests in the Amazon Basin. They range as far north as the Guiana Shield and as far south as Northern Bolivia. (Marsh, 2014)
Saki monkeys are arboreal and spend all their time in the canopy. While they can be found in secondary forests, they are more likely to persist in mature forests with variable habitat including terra firme, palm swamps, and flooded forest. Their large geographic distribution is attributed to their ability to persist in a range of forests types. Sakis are diurnal and sleep in trees at different designated sleeping spots during the night. They are very elusive and rarely ever venture to the forest floor. (Palminteri and Peres, 2012)
The genus P. irrorata and P. vanzolinii).The taxonomic uncertainty within the genus proves that more studies need to be done to evaluate the revise the taxonomic status of genus. (Eduardo Serrano-Villavicencio, et al., 2019)consists of about 16 recognized species. The taxonomy of this genus has been widely difficult to establish due to a lack of genetic information, misuse of common names, misunderstandings of sexual dimorphism, and imprecise type localities. In a taxonomic review of the genus in 2019, researchers found evidence for two morphologically diagnosable groups within genus (
Saki monkeys are medium sized primates and the smallest of the Pitheciidae family. Sakis have a wide range in body length and their tails are often a 1:1 ratio with their body length. Females are slightly smaller than males in overall size and weight. Sakis have long, rough hair that covers their entire body, giving them a distinct shaggy look and oftentimes they appear to have "bangs." Sexual dimorphism varies among species but males and females generally have distinct pelage markings. Both sexes have throat glands that are used for scent marking. Sakis do not have prehensile tails and they can be seen walking, running, climbing, and leaping as their main form of locomotion. (Marsh, 2014)
Species in the genus (Norconk, 2006)live in monogamous social groups. While not much information is known on their reproductive behaviors in the wild, captive populations have been shown to be more monogamous than wild populations. Larger groups tend to be polygamous or polyandrous given more than one primary breeding female and male are present in the group.
During mating season, male saki monkeys make mating calls to the females in wild populations. Both males and females become sexually mature at around three years of age, but females can take longer, given the time their ovarian cycle becomes regular. Females typically bear only one offspring and the gestation period lasts on average 146 days. (Norconk, 2006; Waters, 1995)
Infant saki monkeys will cling to the mother's thigh for the first month of their life. Then they relocate to the mothers back for the next three months which allows for better mobility given the size of the growing infant. Once the infant reaches the age of about five months, it stops clinging from its mother and moves freely within the group. The offspring still weans from its mother until it can survive on its own. (Norconk, 2006; Norconk, 2006; Waters, 1995)
While not much is known on the longevity of most (de Magalhaes and J. Costa, 2009)species, some species can live up to 36 years in captivity, but the average lifespan among sakis in the wild is around 15 years.
Saki monkeys are social and travel through the canopy in small groups of 2 to 9 individuals. Their daily activities include moving from sleep trees in early morning to forage for fruit, then returning to another sleep tree in the evening, often accompanied by another saki monkey group. Sakis spend anywhere from 9 to 12 hours moving through the canopy. Allogrooming is practiced extensively throughout the day and is most commonly seen between mothers and infants. Saki monkeys have a variety of specialized vocalizations including trills, whistles, grunts, roars, and squeaks, which are used for various intensity dependent aggressions. (Walker, 2005; Waters, 1995)
Sakis communicate to each other and to other groups by loud vocalizations, and often establish their territories when male and female pairs, typically the breeding individuals, make loud calls. Sakis have scent glands on their chests/throats and adult males mark their territory using a combination of urine and scent gland markers. (Norconk, 2006; Waters, 1995)
Saki monkeys make alarm calls when a predator is near the group. Once the first alarm call is made, the rest of the group joins. The group stays motionless after making the call so they are undetectable within the canopy, then they move away from the threat. Sakis have both terrestrial predators like jaguars and anacondas, as well as avian predators like the harpy eagle. (Norconk and Gleason, 2002)
Sakis play a major role in seed dispersal. Some species of sakis, including Pithecia pithecia, have been recorded for having parasites like roundworm, heartworm, and the Mayaro virus. (Thoisy, et al., 2003)
Sakis are commonly hunted and captured for their meat in the Amazon basin. They are also trapped for the pet trade, although they don't live long when kept as a pet because their diet requirements are hard to meet. While there are only a handful of Pithecia species in captivity, they attract many visitors in zoos. Sakis that have been habituated near hotels and ecolodges in the Amazon are also big tourist attractions. (Nowak, 1991)
The adverse effects saki monkeys have on humans is unknown. Studies have shown that sakis can carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans, including the human herpesvirus (HHVI) and hepatitis. (Bauer, et al., 2018; Nowak, 1991)
The conservation status of most saki monkeys are of least concern, but there is a data deficiency for almost all saki species, including Pithecia irrorata, Pithecia milleri, and Pithecia rylandsi, and current populations are unknown. However, increasing habitat loss and fragmentation due to deforestation and gold mining in the Amazon is assumed to be causing a rapid decline in their populations. (Marsh, 2014)
Sierra Larson (author), Colorado State University, Audrey Bowman (editor), Colorado State University.
living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.
uses sound to communicate
having coloration that serves a protective function for the animal, usually used to refer to animals with colors that warn predators of their toxicity. For example: animals with bright red or yellow coloration are often toxic or distasteful.
Referring to an animal that lives in trees; tree-climbing.
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
an animal that mainly eats meat
either directly causes, or indirectly transmits, a disease to a domestic animal
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
having markings, coloration, shapes, or other features that cause an animal to be camouflaged in its natural environment; being difficult to see or otherwise detect.
to jointly display, usually with sounds in a highly coordinated fashion, at the same time as one other individual of the same species, often a mate
animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.
parental care is carried out by females
an animal that mainly eats leaves.
A substance that provides both nutrients and energy to a living thing.
an animal that mainly eats fruit
an animal that mainly eats seeds
An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.
An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.
Having one mate at a time.
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
the business of buying and selling animals for people to keep in their homes as pets.
chemicals released into air or water that are detected by and responded to by other animals of the same species
Referring to a mating system in which a female mates with several males during one breeding season (compare polygynous).
having more than one female as a mate at one time
rainforests, both temperate and tropical, are dominated by trees often forming a closed canopy with little light reaching the ground. Epiphytes and climbing plants are also abundant. Precipitation is typically not limiting, but may be somewhat seasonal.
specialized for leaping or bounding locomotion; jumps or hops.
communicates by producing scents from special gland(s) and placing them on a surface whether others can smell or taste them
breeding is confined to a particular season
remains in the same area
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
associates with others of its species; forms social groups.
uses touch to communicate
defends an area within the home range, occupied by a single animals or group of animals of the same species and held through overt defense, display, or advertisement
the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.
movements of a hard surface that are produced by animals as signals to others
uses sight to communicate
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