What kinds of monkeys live in Mexico?
If you find yourself visiting Mexico, it’s only natural that you will ask yourself the above question. I mean, who doesn’t want to see monkeys!?
Luckily, there are a few species that you should be able to find. Keep reading to learn how to identify each primate and learn some fun and interesting facts. Pictures and range maps are also included!
Here are the 4 monkey species that live in Mexico:
#1. Geoffroy’s Spider Monkey
- Ateles geoffroyi
Also called Central American, Mexican, Yucatan, or Black-handed Spider Monkey.
- Body length measures between 30 and 63 cm (12 and 25 in). Weighs between 6 and 9 kg (13 and 20 lb). The tail is longer than the body at between 63 and 85 cm (25 and 33.5 in).
- Coloration varies by population and subspecies. They can be light-brownish yellow, black, reddish, or black.
- The face usually has a pale mask and bare skin around the eyes, nose, and mouth.
Look for Geoffroy’s Monkeys in Mexico in various types of forests, including rainforests, mangroves, and especially evergreen forests. These relatively large monkeys are among the most agile primates, and it’s common to see them hanging by just one of their long limbs or their incredibly strong prehensile tail. In addition to helping them climb, the tail also assists in scooping up fruit and water, acting like a fifth limb.
Geoffroy’s Spider Monkey Range Map
It’s rare to see just one Geoffroy’s Monkey, as they live in large groups that typically number between 20-40 individuals, although they do split into smaller groups during the day to forage.
Since their diet consists mainly of fruit, this species must be able to memorize and identify many different types of foods and locations. To remember all this information, spider monkeys have evolved a very intelligent brain. If fact, a 2007 study found they were the THIRD most intelligent nonhuman primate, behind only chimpanzees and orangutans, which means they are ahead of gorillas!
Unfortunately, Geoffroy’s Monkeys are listed as endangered. This is because they require large tracts of forest to thrive, so they are particularly sensitive to habitat loss and deforestation. In addition, they are also captured by humans to be sold as pets.
#2. Mantled Howler Monkey
- Alouatta palliata
- They are primarily black except for a fringe of yellow or golden brown hairs on the flanks of the body, which is how they earned the name “mantled.”
- Adult females weigh between 3.1 and 7.6 kg (6 and 16 lb), while males typically weigh between 4.5 and 9.8 kg (10 lb and 22 lb).
It’s common to both see and HEAR these monkeys in Mexico!
Mantled Howler Monkeys are famous for their incredibly loud calls, which are enhanced by an enlarged hyoid bone in their vocal cords. Howling allows these primates to locate each other more easily in dense forests without expending so much energy. Believe it or not, their noises can be heard from several kilometers away!
Mantled Howler Monkey Range Map
Energy conservation is important to Mantled Howler Monkeys since their diet primarily consists of leaves, which don’t provide much energy. As a result, they are much less active than other monkey species and spend roughly 75% of the day resting, in addition to sleeping all night.
Mantled Howler Monkeys are not as vulnerable to forest fragmentation as other primates. Their low-energy lifestyle means they have smaller home ranges and don’t need to travel as far as other species to forage. They can also use a wide variety of food sources, such as fruits and leaves from many different types of trees.
#3. Yucatán Black Howler Monkey
- Alouatta pigra
Also called the Guatemalan Black Howler.
- Both males and females have long, black hair and a prehensile tail. Note that infants have brown fur.
- The body is between 52 and 64 cm (20.5 and 25.2 in) in length, excluding the tail.
- The tail is between 59 and 69 cm (23 and 27 in) long.
This species is the LARGEST monkey in Mexico!
On average, males average around 11.4 kg (25 lb), while females tip the scales at 6.4 kg (14 lb)! And as the name suggests, they are only found in forested areas in and near the Yucatán peninsula.
Yucatán Black Howler Monkey Range Map
Yucatán Black Howlers mainly eat leaves, and their teeth are perfectly adapted to breaking down foliage to digest. But unfortunately, leaves don’t provide much energy, which is why they spend most of the day resting. 🙂
Howler monkeys are BEST known for their extremely loud vocalizations! LISTEN BELOW.
Unfortunately, Yucatán Black Howler Monkeys are endangered, and their population is expected to keep declining. Their main threats include habitat loss due to deforestation, hunting, and being captured to be sold as pets.
#4. Stump-tailed Macaque
- Macaca arctoides
This monkey species is NOT native to Mexico.
Stump-tailed Macaques originate in southern Asia. But, back in 1974, a small population was released onto Tanaxpillo Island in the middle of Lake Catemaco in Veracruz, Mexico. The reason for this introduction was to study these primates in a natural setting. In fact, most of the information we know about Stump-tailed Macaques comes from this introduced group.
Not only were the experiments considered to be a success, but the primates are also thriving and are now a huge tourist attraction. To visit La Isla de los Monos (Monkey Island), you must take a boat ride from the city of Catemaco. The Stump-tailed Macaques are large, which makes them easy to spot, unlike some of the other native monkeys that live in Mexico.
Do you need additional help identifying monkeys in Mexico?
Then check out this field guide!
Mammals of Central America & Southeast Mexico | View Price HERE!
Which of these monkeys have you seen before in Mexico?
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