Monkey Forest Tales: What we have learned about Dusky titi monkeys over the past 15 years?


This is the third post of a series in which the findings of this project are presented. In this post, the findings for the Dusky titi monkeys are described. Dusky titi monkeys are another of the smallest primate species inhabiting the study area.

Dusty titi monkeys are a charismatic and endemic species that can only be found in Meta department (state) of Colombia. They can be found in the piedmont of the Colombian Llanos. However, the eastern part of their distribution seems to not go further to the Upia river (Defler 2010). Its populations are declining due a reduction and fragmentation of their habitat (Carretero-Pinzon & Defler 2016). Therefore, it is considered a vulnerable species that need to be protected to avoid extinction.

They can live in fragments of gallery forest, lowland forest and swamp forest (forest patches composed mainly of Mauritia flexuosa with soils of a high-water table; Carretero-Pinzon & Defler 2018). In continuous areas, they are commonly found near to the stream and river edges in higher densities, while in fragmented areas higher densities can be found in forest fragments edges and small fragments (Defler & Carretero-Pinzón 2019).

Where do you find them and how many groups of them you will find depending on the amount of forest there are in the landscape. How many fruit trees influence how many groups of these fluffy and quite small monkeys you can find in fragmented landscape (Carretero-Pinzon et al. 2017).

Living fences, fences made from a line of native trees used by local farmers to divide their pastures as well as small forest fragments (< 10 ha) in the middle of pastures are important sources of food, especially fruits and are used as part of home ranges (territories; Carretero-Pinzon et al 2010). Some of those small fragments (< 5 ha) seem to be used for dispersing individuals and as an initial home range for newly formed groups in fragmented landscapes (Carretero-Pinzon unpublished data). Therefore, these landscape structures help them to survive in highly fragmented landscapes such as agricultural and urban landscapes.

Dispersion distance in fragmented landscapes is up to 3 m through wire fences, living fences, and pastures (Carretero-Pinzon unpublished data). Mainly early morning hours and late afternoon hours are used for dispersion between forest fragments. Although is possible to encounter them dispersing on pastures and using living fences at noon in some areas (Carretero-Pinzon unpublished data).

We have limited information about their diet that is mainly composed of arthropods, fruits, flowers and leaves (Ospina 2006; Quintero 2017). They consume mainly fruits from the understory and canopy of the forest (Ospina 2006; Quintero 2017). Similar to the Colombian squirrel monkeys they use pioneer plants for fruits in the forest edges (Ospina 2006; Quintero 2017).

Dusty titi monkeys live in family groups with a male, a female, and their offspring. Babies born during December and January with babies been carried by the males mainly until their third month (Carretero-Pinzon & Defler 2016).


Carretero-Pinzon X., Defler TR. 2018. Primates and flooded forest in the Colombian Llanos. En: Barnett AA, Matsuda I, Nowak K (eds) Primates in flooded habitats: ecology and conservation, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

Carretero-Pinzon X., Defler TR. 2016. Callicebus ornatus, an endemic Colombian species: Demography, Behavior and Conservation. En: Ruíz-García M, Shostell J.M. (eds). Phylogeny, molecular population genetics, evolutionary biology and Conservation of the Neotropical Primates. Nova Science Publisher Inc., New York, USA. ID book: 5975

Carretero-Pinzón, X., T.R. Defler & M. Ruíz-García. 2010. Uso de cercas vivas como corredores biológicos por primates en los Llanos Orientales. In: Primatología en Colombia: avances al principio del milenio. Pereira-Bengoa, V., Stevenson P.R., Bueno M.L. & F. Nassar-Montoya. Fundación Universitaria San Martín. Bogotá, Colombia.

Defler, T.R. 2010. Historia natural de los primates Colombianos. Conservacion internacional. Bogota: Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Facultad de Ciencias.

Defler TR., Carretero-Pinzon X. 2019. Edge habitat preferences in three titi monkey species in Colombia (Cheracebus lugens, Cheracebus torquatus lucifer y Plecturocebus ornatus). Neotropical Primates 24(2): 64-71.

Ospina M.J. 2006. Comparación de los Patrones Comportamentales de Callicebus cupreus ornatus Durante dos Épocas Estacionales en un Fragmento de Bosque de Galería, en San Martín, (Meta). Pontificia Universidad Javeriana. Bogotá, Colombia.

Quintero, O.Y. 2017. Variaciones comportamentales y de dieta de dos grupos de plecturocebus ornatus (mammalia: primates) en paisajes con diferentes grados de fragmentación en San Martín, Meta, Colombia. Universidad del Cauca. Popayan, Colombia.

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