Poeppig’s woolly monkey (Lagothrix poeppigii)

Also known as: brown woolly monkey; lowland woolly monkey
Synonyms: Lagothrix lagothricha poeppigii
Spanish: Macaco Barrigudo, Mono Barrigudo
GenusLagothrix (1)
SizeHead-body length – male: 46 – 58 cm (2)
Head-body length – female: 46 – 65 cm (2)
Tail length – male: 53 – 77 cm (2)
Tail length – female: 62 – 72 cm (2)
Weight – male: 3.6 – 10.0 kg (2)
Weight – female: 3.5 – 6.5 kg (2)

Poeppig’s woolly monkey is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1).

Poeppig's woolly monkey (Lagothrix poeppigii) ranges in colour from red/orange through chestnut-brown to nearly black with a silvery sheen. Woolly monkeys have prehensile tails with a palm-pad on the top end of the tail (3). The hands, head, feet and abdomen fur is black, the chest fur of the adults is russet-red and is more distinctive in the males. The skin of the face, hands and tail palm is black (3). The males are also larger than the females with a proportionally shorter tail, larger canines, and well-developed jowls and distinctive bumps on either side of the head, giving a heart-shaped appearance (2) (3).

Poeppig’s woolly monkey is found in Brazil, eastern Ecuador and northern Peru (1) (2).

Poeppig’s woolly monkey inhabits lowland and high-elevation subtropical and tropical moist rainforest, spending most of its time in the upper canopy (1) (2).

Poeppig’s woolly monkey lives in mixed-sex groups of between 10 and 45 individuals, and sometimes as many as 70 individuals. These groups travel up to two kilometres per day eating a diet of mainly fruit, but also leaves, flowers, gum, seeds, invertebrates, birds and small mammals (2) (5). They are very efficient seed dispersers (3). It is thought that they travel further when insect prey abundance is high (5). Home ranges of different groups overlap, but aggression between groups is rare and territoriality seems to be low (4). The males are dominant in the group hierarchy and both males’ and females’ positions in the hierarchy is influenced by age, character, familial and intra-group alliances (2) (3). Most active during the day, the monkeys sleep at night in the upper canopy. Communication between Poeppig’s woolly monkeys is visual, vocal and through smell. Males will rub their chests to indicate hostility; receptive females smack their lips and teeth-chatter, and submission to superiors is shown by lowering or shutting the eyes whilst making a sobbing sound and covering the mouth. This last action is also performed to reassure infants. Males and even occasionally females will use scent glands on their chests to mark territory and to assert dominance. The monkeys have around 14 known vocalisations including barks, screams, grunts, chuckles and loud descending trills. The alarm call ‘yoohk yoohk’ is given by the whole group in chorus when they feel threatened (2).

Female Poeppig’s woolly monkeys become sexually receptive at about four years old (3). They have a 21-day oestrus cycle, but young are only born about every two to three years. Pregnancy lasts a massive 223 days and single births occur at any time of year. After birth, the infant will cling to the female’s long chest fur, and from about two weeks will gradually spend more time riding on her back and is nursed for at least a year (3). Males are fully mature at eight years, and individuals can live for up to 25 years (2).

Poeppig’s woolly monkeys are particularly sensitive to both hunting pressure and human presence. Disturbed areas of forest are usually abandoned (5).

Conservation efforts are currently minimal with only three protected areas home to Poeppig’s woolly monkeys (2).

For further information about Poeppig's woolly monkey:

Authentication provided by Rachel Hevesi, The Monkey Sanctuary Trust (October 2004).

  1. IUCN Red List (April, 2011)
  2. Richardson, M. (2004) Pers. comm.
  3. Hevesi, R. (2004) Pers. comm.
  4. Fiore, A.D. (2003) Ranging behaviour and foraging ecology of lowland woolly monkeys (Lagothrix lagothricha poeppigii) in YasunA National Park, Ecuador. American Journal of Primatology, 59(2): 47 - 66.
  5. Primate Research in Yasuni National Park, Ecuador (October, 2004)