SAKIS, TITIS, AND UAKARIS – Pitheciidae

SAKIS, TITIS, AND UAKARIS

SAKIS, TITIS, AND UAKARIS FACTS

Pitheciids (PITH-uh-sidz; members of the family Pitheciidae) are small- to medium-sized monkeys, ranging from the smallest, the titis, to the largest, the uakaris. Male bearded sakis and uakaris are about 20 percent larger than the females. Male and female white-faced sakis differ in coloration. The bald uakari is easily recognized by its pinkish to bright red naked face. All pitheciid species have long coats, except for the short-furred bearded saki. The bald uakari alone has a short tail, about a third of its body length. The rest of the species have long, nonprehensile (nongrasping) tails.

GEOGRAPHIC RANGE

Pitheciids are found in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, and Suriname.

SAKIS, TITIS, AND UAKARIS HABITAT

Pitheciids inhabit a variety of rainforest habitats. Sakis prefer the middle and lower layers of the canopy, as well as the understory. They are found in savanna forests, mountain forests, swamps, and forests along rivers, but not flooded forests. Uakaris choose forests that get flooded from seasonal rainfall for about six months. Titis occupy coastal forests, living in the understory.

SAKIS, TITIS, AND UAKARIS DIET

Sakis and uakaris feed mainly on seeds, especially from tough-skinned fruits, while titis prefer fruit pulps. All species supplement their diet with flowers, leaves, shoots, and insects.

BEHAVIOR AND REPRODUCTION

Pitheciids differ in the size of their social groups, ranging from small parent-and-offspring groups among titis to the uakari multimale-multifemale groups of up to 100 members. They are mostly arboreal, living in the trees of the forest canopy and understory. Active during the day, these primates take breaks for mutual grooming. Pitheciids are vocal and use body postures to communicate, such as erecting the body hair to show aggression.

All pitheciids give birth to one infant. Some species breed seasonally, while others do not. Saki fathers do not help with child care but do groom infants. Titi fathers are the principal caregivers, even of older offspring. The young are weaned at different ages, with sakis being independent at about age one and titis remaining with the parents until they are two or three years old.

PITHECIIDS AND PEOPLE

Pitheciids are hunted for food and trapped for the pet trade. Sakis are hunted for their long, bushy tails that are made into dusters.

CONSERVATION STATUS

The World Conservation Union (IUCN) lists Barbara Brown’s titi and Coimbra’s titi as Critically Endangered, facing an extremely high risk of extinction, due to habitat loss or degradation from logging. The bearded saki is classified as Endangered, facing a very high risk of extinction, because of hunting and pet collection, as well as habitat loss from deforestation.

Six other species are listed as Vulnerable, facing a high risk of extinction, and two species as Near Threatened, not currently threatened, but could become so, due to several factors, including hunting, capture for the pet trade, and habitat loss from deforestation for timber and agriculture.