Friday 17 May
Common woolly monkey (Lagothrix lagotricha)
Common woolly monkey fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
Common woolly monkey description
The soft, short, thick, woolly hair of this primate, after which it is named (2), makes it a particularly attractive New World monkey. The downy fur of the common woolly monkey may vary between shades of dark grey, brown or black (5), and is often darker on the head and slightly lighter on the underparts (3). The face, naked of any fur, is typically black (3). For a tree-dwelling monkey, this species is rather large (3), but it moves easily through the forest using its long limbs and prehensile tail, which has a bare patch near the tip to provide extra grip (2) (3). Male woolly monkeys are larger than females and also have larger canines (5). It was once thought that there were four subspecies of the common woolly monkey: Lagothrix lagotricha lagotricha, L. l. lugens, L. l. cana and L. l. poeppigii (5) (6); however, some now consider these to be full species (1).
- Also known as
- Humboldt’s woolly monkey, woolly monkey.
- Lagothriche De Humboldt, Singe Laineux.
- Mono Caparro, Mono Lanudo Común. Top
BBC Wildlife Finder:
Amazon Conservation Association:
The Amazon Conservation Team:
- Relating to the region of the anus and the genitalia.
- Active in the daytime.
- The state of being pregnant; the period from conception to birth.
- Capable of grasping.
- Primary forest
- Forest that has remained undisturbed for a long time and has reached a mature condition.
- 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.
IUCN Red List (November, 2008)
- Ankel-Simons, F. (2000) Primate Anatomy: an Introduction. Academic Press, San Diego.
- Nowak, R.M. (1999) Walker’s Mammals of the World. John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.
CITES (November, 2008)
- Kinzey, W.G. (1997) New World Primates: Ecology, Evolution and Behaviour. Aldine de Gruyter, New York.
- Di Fiore, A. and Rodman, P.S. (2001) Time allocation patterns of lowland woolly monkeys (Lagothrix lagotricha poeppigii) in a neotropical terra firma forest. International Journal of Primatology, 22(3): 449 - 480.
- Peres, C.A. (1994) Diet and feeding ecology of gray woolly monkeys (Lagothrix lagotricha cana) in Central Amazonia: Comparisons with other Atelines. International Journal of Primatology, 15(3): 333 - 372.
- Di Fiore, A., Link, A. and Stevenson, P.R. (2006) Scent marking in two western Amazonian populations of woolly monkeys (Lagothrix lagotricha). American Journal of Primatology, 68: 637 - 649.
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
- download and retain copies of the Material on their personal systems in digital form in low resolution for their own personal use;
- teachers, lecturers and students may incorporate the Material in their educational material (including, but not limited to, their lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and projects) in hard copy and digital format for use within a registered educational establishment, provided that the integrity of the Material is maintained and that copyright ownership and authorship is appropriately acknowledged by the End User.
Common woolly monkey biology
Like many New World monkeys, this species is diurnal and tree-dwelling (3). Moving about in groups of between 20 and 70 individuals (3), the common woolly monkey feeds primarily on fruits (7). However, young seeds, young leaves and flowers are also eaten at certain times of the year (7). It moves about the trees, with its tail providing a constant safety grip on the branches (2), and sleeps in the topmost layer of the forest, often in the crown of a tall tree (5). Sometimes, however, the common woolly monkey will descend to the ground, where it moves upright on its two hindlegs, using the arms and tail for balance (3).
Within each common woolly monkey group, there is a dominance hierarchy amongst the males, which is decided upon through aggressive behaviour (3). They are polygamous monkeys, meaning that they mate with more than one partner each season (5), and it is believed that the scent-marking observed in this species plays a part in mating activity, by advertising the quality of a male. Males scent mark by either rubbing their chest or anogenital region against a branch or tree trunk (8).
Female common woolly monkeys typically give birth to a single young after a gestation period of between 7 and 7.5 months (3) (5). The mother will feed her young for between 9 and 12 months. Sexual maturity is reached at between five and eight years, and, based on evidence of a captive common woolly monkey, this species may live up to around 24 years (3).Top
Common woolly monkey range
The common woolly monkey occurs in South America in the upper Amazon basin (5). Its range extends west from the Rio Tapajos in Brazil, to eastern Peru, Ecuador and Colombia (1) (3). It may also occur in Venezuela (1), but is apparently no longer found in Bolivia, where it is believed to have been extirpated by hunting (5).Top
Common woolly monkey habitat
Lowland primary forest is the preferred habitat of the common woolly monkey; however, it may also be found in cloud forest, up to elevations of 3,000 metres, and occasionally in disturbed or fragmented areas of forest (1) (3). In certain seasons it may enter flooded forests, to feed on the plethora of fruits that are found there (1).Top
Common woolly monkey statusTop
Common woolly monkey threats
The common woolly monkey is often considered to be one of the primates most vulnerable to hunting in the New World (3) (5). It is valued for its meat, with its large size making it a particularly enticing target, but it is also hunted for its pelt and for the pet trade (3) (5). It is generally a young woolly monkey that is sought for the pet trade, which tragically often involves the mother being killed in order to capture the defenceless infant (3). It has been estimated that for every young woolly monkey that is sold live in a market, at least 10 female woolly monkeys died (3). In addition to the threat of hunting, the common woolly monkey is being threatened by the loss of forests. As humans encroach on this habitat, turning the once biodiverse forest of the Amazon basin into agricultural land (1), the common woolly monkey is one of the first primates to disappear (3).Top
Common woolly monkey conservation
Despite the gloomy picture painted above, the common woolly monkey does still occur over a wide area, and can be found in a number of remote regions (1), for the time being safe from the expansion of human activities. It also occurs in a number of protected areas such as the Juami-Japurá Ecological Station in Brazil and the Nukak National Natural Reserve in Colombia (1).Top
Find out more
For further information on the common woolly monkey see:
Help protect the common woolly monkey and other primates by supporting conservation efforts in the Amazon. Visit:
This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.
Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials
Copyright in this website and materials contained on this website (Material) belongs to Wildscreen or its licensors.
Visitors to this website (End Users) are entitled to:
End Users shall not copy or otherwise extract, alter or manipulate Material other than as permitted in these Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials.
Additional use of flagged material
Green flagged material
Certain Material on this website (Licence 4 Material) displays a green flag next to the Material and is available for not-for-profit conservation or educational use. This material may be used by End Users, who are individuals or organisations that are in our opinion not-for-profit, for their not-for-profit conservation or not-for-profit educational purposes. Low resolution, watermarked images may be copied from this website by such End Users for such purposes. If you require high resolution or non-watermarked versions of the Material, please contact Wildscreen with details of your proposed use.
Creative commons material
Certain Material on this website has been licensed to Wildscreen under a Creative Commons Licence. These images are clearly marked with the Creative Commons buttons and may be used by End Users only in the way allowed by the specific Creative Commons Licence under which they have been submitted. Please see http://creativecommons.org for details.
Any other use
Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details are shown for each media item) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use of Material other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to ARKive are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.
Save as permitted above, no person or organisation is permitted to incorporate any copyright material from this website into any other work or publication in any format (this includes but is not limited to: websites, Apps, CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, signage, digital communications or on printed materials for external or other distribution). Use of the Material for promotional, administrative or for-profit purposes is not permitted.