The Common Squirrel Monkey (Saimiri sciureus) is a small New World primate from the Cebidae (squirrel monkey) family, and native to the tropical areas of South America.
The Common Squirrel Monkey can be found in the countries of Bolivia
, French Guiana
; a small population has been introduced to Southern Florida
. The Common Squirrel Monkey prefers to live in the middle canopy, but will occasionally come to the ground or go up into the high canopy. They like vegetation which provides good cover from birds of prey like the rainforest, savannah, mangroves, or marshlands.
Biology and Behavior
The Common Squirrel Monkey is considered both frugivorous
, preferring berry-like fruit on branches. It also looks for mollusks, and small vertebrates, such as tree frogs
. It obtains a majority of water from the foods eaten, and will also obtain water from holes in trees and puddles on the ground. When fruit is scarce, the Common Squirrel Monkey will drink nectar.
The young are cared for by other females as well as the mother, but not by any males. Social interactions are centered around a group of dominant females. The Common Squirrel Monkey gives birth to a single offspring. Infants are able to climb from birth and the mother's supporting role is less than with other monkeys
Squirrel monkey groups are subdivided into adult male bands, mother-infant bands, and juvenile bands. Adult females with their young form the core of the group. Adult males intermingle with the females only during the several months of mating season.
The Common Squirrel Monkey is diurnal
. It is usually quiet but will utter loud cries when alarmed. It is arboreal but sometimes it will come down to the ground. Bands or troops can be from 12-100. Occasionally troops as large as 500 have been seen in undisturbed forests.
The Common Squirrel Monkey is rated as "least concern" by IUCN
from a conservation perspective. However, the Common Squirrel Monkey is among many rainforest animals whose status may be harmed by deforestation
. The species has also been captured extensively for the pet trade and for medical research.
There are four subspecies of Saimiri sciureus
The Common Squirrel Monkey S. sciureus is used as a pet and in medical research.