Blond titi monkey (Callicebus barbarabrownae)

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Blond titi monkey
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Blond titi monkey fact file

Blond titi monkey description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassMammalia
OrderPrimates
FamilyPitheciidae
GenusCallicebus (1)

Formerly considered a subspecies of the more widely recognised masked titi (Callicebus personatus), the blond titi monkey has only recently been given full species status (3) (4). Similar in appearance to a number of other titi monkeys, the blond titi monkey has an elongated tail, a dense pelage of long, soft hairs, and a small, rounded head with a flattened face (5). As its common name suggests, the back is a pale blond-white colour that contrasts sharply with the black legs and forearms, and the bright orange tail. Patches of blackish fur stand raised on the forehead and crown, but the rest of the hair on the head is a distinctive buffish colour, with fine, black tips (6).

Also known as
Barbara Brown's titi, Northern Bahian blond titi, Northern Bahian blond titi monkey.
Synonyms
Callicebus personatus barbarabrownae.
Spanish
Guigó.
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Blond titi monkey biology

Owing to its rarity and the dearth of species-specific studies, very little is known about the biology of the blond titi monkey (1). However, titi monkeys tend to be largely arboreal forest dwellers, and the blond titi monkey probably rarely descends to the ground. These small, agile primates traverse the canopy with a distinctive gait, skilfully climbing through the branches on all four limbs, using their powerful rear limbs to jump spectacular distances, grasping onto branches with leading forehands. While resting, they hunch the body, hanging the tail vertically over a branch. Titi monkeys are most active at dawn and dusk, foraging for fruits, leaves and insects, and rest around midday. The males lead the group while foraging, communicating to the rest of the group with a wide array of vocalisations and visual signals. At night they sleep in carefully selected trees that offer safety from predators (5)

Titi monkeys are monogamous, with groups consisting of strongly-bonded parents and their offspring. Partners often reinforce the pair bond by perching side-by-side and entwining their tails (5). Females give birth annually, during the wet season, to a litter of just one, after a gestation period of five to six months (8). Juveniles grow rapidly to reach adult size within ten months (5).  

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Blond titi monkey range

The blond titi monkey is endemic to the Atlantic forests of eastern Brazil, where it is found in the coastal highlands of Bahia and Sergipe States. Its exact distribution is unclear, but the blond titi monkey has been found in 55 localities over an area of around 2,600 square kilometres (1). The bulk of the population is found in the area between the Rios Paraguaçú in the north and Salvador in the south, west towards Mirorós (6) (7).

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Blond titi monkey habitat

The exact habitat requirements of the blond titi monkey are unknown. However, most remaining populations are found in dry scrubland, preferring dense stands of tall canopy forest, between 240 and 900 metres above sea level (1).

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Blond titi monkey status

Classified as Critically Endangered (CR) on the IUCN Red List (1) and listed on Appendix II of CITES (2).

IUCN Red List species status – Critically Endangered

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Blond titi monkey threats

Extremely close to extinction, the total population of the blond titi monkey is estimated at no more than 250 individuals (1). A victim of extensive habitat loss, this rare monkey survives in highly fragmented, relict populations, each numbering no more than 50 individuals (1). The blond titi monkey is only found in the Atlantic forests of Brazil, a region characterised by intensive habitat conversion and degradation. Despite only ten percent of original forest remaining, urban and agricultural encroachment, and the development of coffee and sugarcane plantations continue to threaten the area. Rapid urbanisation also threatens the blond titi monkey through road collisions, electrocution on power lines and predation by domestic pets. It may also be captured for use as pets (1).

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Blond titi monkey conservation

Despite being home to numerous species found nowhere else in the world, only one percent of the forests of Bahia, home to the blond titi monkey, are under any form of protection (9). As a number of destructive activities continue to degrade the area, action is urgently required to protect the blond titi monkey’s habitat. Thankfully, several organisations, including the Brazilian Institute for the Environment, are working to promote the study and protection of Brazil’s threatened primates (10). Conservation International is also helping to establish a Central Biodiversity Corridor that aims to connect fragmented forests, while WWF is developing an overall conservation strategy for Brazil’s Atlantic forests (9) (11). Further research is needed into the ecology and status of this enigmatic species if it is to be pulled back from the brink of extinction (1).   

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
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Find out more

To learn about efforts to conserve the blond titi monkey see:

For more information on the conservation of primates, see:

For more information of the conservation of Brazil’s Atlantic forests, see:

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Authentication

Authenticated (20/05/10) by Matthew Richardson, primatologist and author.

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Glossary

Arboreal
An animal which lives or spends a large amount of time in trees.
Endemic
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Gestation
The state of being pregnant; the period from conception to birth.
Monogamous
Having only one mate during a breeding season, or throughout the breeding life of a pair.
Pelage
The coat of a mammal, composed of fur, hair or wool, covering the bare skin.
Subspecies
A population usually restricted to a geographical area that differs from other populations of the same species, but not to the extent of being classified as a separate species.
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (March, 2010)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org/
  2. CITES (March, 2010)
    http://www.cites.org/
  3. Hershkovitz, P. (1990) Titis, New World monkeys of the genus Callicebus (Cebidae, Platyrrhini): a preliminary taxonomic review. Fieldiana: Zoology, 55: 1-109.
  4. Kobayashi, S. and Langguth, A. (1999) A new species of titi monkey, Callicebus Thomas, from north-eastern Brazil (Primates, Cebidae). Revista Brasileira de Zoologia, 16: 531-551.
  5. Nowak, R.M. (1999) Mammals of the World. The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.
  6. van Roosmalen, M.G.M., van Roosmalen, R. and Mittermeiser, R.A. (2002) A taxonomic review of the titi monkeys, genus Callicebus Thomas, 1903, with the description of two new species, Callicebus bernhardi and Callicebus stephennashi, from Brazilian Amazonia. Neotropical Primates, 10: 1-52.
  7. Marinho Filho, J. and Veríssimo, E.W. (1997) The rediscovery of Callicebus personatus barbarabrownae in northeastern Brazil with a new western limit to its distribution. Primates, 38: 429-433.
  8. Macdonald, D.W. (2009) The Encyclopedia of Mammals. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  9. WWF (March, 2010)
    http://www.panda.org/about_our_earth/ecoregions/atlantic_forests.cfm
  10. Costa, L.P., Reis Leite, Y.L., Mendes, S.L. and Ditchfield, A.D. (2005) Mammal Conservation in Brazil. Conservation Biology, 3: 672-679.
  11. Conservation International (March, 2010)
    http://www.biodiversityhotspots.org/xp/Hotspots/atlantic_forest/Pages/default.aspx
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Image credit

Blond titi monkey  
Blond titi monkey

© Russell A. Mittermeier / Conservation International

Conservation International
2011 Crystal Drive
Suite 500
Arlington
VA
22202
United States of America
Tel: 01 202 912 1000
dnguyen@conservation.org
http://www.conservation.org

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