San Martin titi monkey (Callicebus oenanthe)

San Martin titi monkey, head detail
IUCN Red List species status – Critically Endangered CRITICALLY

Top facts

  • Titi monkeys typically rest in a huddled position, with all four limbs brought together and the tail hanging vertically down.
  • The San Martin titi monkey lives in small family groups consisting of an adult pair and their offspring.
  • When it is not nursing from the female, the infant San Martin titi monkey is often carried by the male.
  • Titi monkey pairs often perform loud duets in the morning to proclaim their territory.
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San Martin titi monkey fact file

San Martin titi monkey description

GenusCallicebus (1)

The San Martin titi monkey (Callicebus oenanthe) is a small New World monkey with a compact body, small, round head and relatively flat, high face (5). Its non-prehensile tail is roughly the same length as the body (2) and is covered in thick, soft hair (5).

The body of the San Martin titi monkey is covered in thick, light brown agouti fur, with orange fur on the belly, chest and inner surfaces of the limbs. Agouti colouration is characterised by hairs having multiple bands of colour, giving a somewhat ‘peppered’ or grizzled appearance. The San Martin titi monkey is also characterised by a white to buffy blaze on its face, extending up to the top of the head, and there are dark patches around the eyes (2) (6) (7).

Also known as
Andean titi monkey, Rio Mayo titi, Rio Mayo titi monkey.
Mono Tocón.
Male head-body length: 30 - 30.6 cm (2)
Female head-body length: 31.3 - 38.5 cm (2)
Tail length: 36.9 - 40 cm (2)
c. 1.2 kg (3)

San Martin titi monkey biology

An arboreal species (5), the San Martin titi monkey usually occupies the dense understory of the forest (11). This species is active during the day, tending to feed in the early morning and resting around midday. Moving in social family groups, it forages for food and selects sleeping sites during the early to late evening (5). Like other titi monkeys (Callicebus species), the San Martin titi monkey moves around on all fours and rests in a characteristic huddled position, with all four limbs brought together on the branch and the tail hanging down (5).

The diet of the San Martin titi monkey consists mainly of fruit and insects, although it also feeds on seeds, flowers, leaves and other plant parts (7) (9) (11). In comparison with other titi monkeys, insects make up a considerable portion of the San Martin titi monkey’s diet, particularly when other foods are scarce (7) (11).

The San Martin titi monkey is monogamous, living in a family group of around two to six, consisting of a strongly bonded adult pair and their young. The adult male leads the group in their foraging movements and often carries an infant when it is not nursing from the female (5). The adult male and female are territorial and defend their territory with loud vocalisations and aggression towards other individuals (3) (8).

Like other titi monkeys, the San Martin titi monkey is likely to give birth to one infant a year, after a gestation period of about five to six months (3) (5). Group members are very social and affectionate with one another and are frequently seen intertwining tails when they are sitting near to each other (5).


San Martin titi monkey range

The San Martin titi monkey is endemic to the upper Rio Mayo valley and adjacent areas in north-central Peru (1) (5) (8). This species was previously believed to occur only in the upper Rio Mayo valley, but recent studies have found that its range also extends further south into the Bajo Mayo and Huallaga Central (8).


San Martin titi monkey habitat

The San Martin titi monkey has been recorded in a range of forest habitats, including secondary forest, bamboo stands, fruit crops, vine thickets and palm-dominated forest (7) (9). It appears to be most frequently found near streams and rivers, often occurring in flooded and seasonally flooded forests (1) (10). However, it has also been recorded in drier areas (8).


San Martin titi monkey status

The San Martin titi monkey is classified as Critically Endangered (CR) on the IUCN Red List (1) and is listed on Appendix II of CITES (4).

IUCN Red List species status – Critically Endangered


San Martin titi monkey threats

The main threat to the San Martin titi monkey is massive deforestation and habitat fragmentation within its restricted range. As a result, its population is estimated to have declined by over 80 percent in the past 25 years (1). The forests that this monkey inhabits are being torn down for timber, firewood and to cultivate rice, coffee and other crops, and titi groups are becoming increasingly isolated in the remaining forest fragments (1) (7) (10).

Deforestation in the region has been exacerbated by high levels of immigration and the construction of a major paved highway. The influx of immigrants has also resulted in a change from traditional subsistence and small-scale farming (1) (7) (10).

A further threat to the San Martin titi monkey comes from hunting for its meat (1) (7) (8) (10). Although not usually targeted by hunters, this species is likely to be taken when other game species become scarce and as habitat fragmentation increases access to the forest (1) (10). It is also commonly captured for the local pet trade (1) (7) (8) (10).


San Martin titi monkey conservation

International trade in the San Martin titi monkey should be carefully regulated under this species’ listing on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) (4).

Unfortunately, little attention has so far been given to forest conservation within the San Martin titi monkey’s range (1) (10). The Department of San Martín has 13 municipal protected areas, but most are poorly demarcated and routinely invaded by immigrants (10). However, the San Martin titi monkey may occur on some reserves, including Pabloyacu (10) and the Bosque de Protección de Alto Mayo (1).

Outside of protected areas, the indigenous Aguaruna community will play an important role in the protection of the San Martin titi monkey as it occupies large tracts of remaining forest. However, much of this land is rented to farmers for the production of rice, papaya and coffee (10).

Recommended conservation strategies for the protection of isolated titi monkey populations include surveying all possible habitats (1) (7) (10) and working with landowners to protect the San Martin titi monkey on their land (10). It will also be important to regulate new and existing farming settlements and to provide forest corridors to reconnect isolated titi monkey groups (7).

In 2007, the Proyecto Mono Tocón was set up with the aim of conserving the San Martin titi monkey and its habitat. This project works directly with local people, governments and other organisations to perform conservation, research and environmental education activities and to establish community conservation areas (1) (12). It is also investigating the possibility of creating a protected area in forest near Moyobamba, specifically to help conserve this highly threatened primate (12).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

Find out more

Find out more about the San Martin titi monkey and its conservation:

More information on primate conservation:



This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:

This species information was authored as part of the Arkive and Universities Scheme.


An animal which lives or spends a large amount of time in trees.
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
The state of being pregnant; the period from conception to birth.
Having only one mate during a breeding season, or throughout the breeding life of a pair.
Capable of grasping.
Secondary forest
Forest that has re-grown after a major disturbance, such as fire or timber harvest, but has not yet reached the mature state of primary forest.
Describes an animal, a pair of animals or a colony that occupies and defends an area.
An area occupied and defended by an animal, a pair of animals or a colony.


  1. IUCN Red List (June, 2011)
  2. Hershkovitz, P. (1990) Titis, New World monkeys of the genus Callicebus (Cebidae, Platyrrhini): a preliminary taxonomic review. Fieldiana Zoology, 55: 1-109.
  3. Macdonald, D.W. (2006) The Encyclopedia of Mammals. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  4. CITES (July, 2012)
  5. Nowak, R.M. (1999) Walker's Primates of the World. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London.
  6. Thomas, O. (1924) New Callicebus, Conepatus and Oecomys from Peru. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, 9(14): 286-288.
  7. DeLuycker, A.M. (2006) Preliminary report and conservation status of the Río Mayo titi monkey, Callicebus oenanthe Thomas, 1924, in the Alto Mayo Valley, northeastern Peru. Primate Conservation, 21: 33-39.
  8. Bóveda-Penalba, A.J., Vermeer, J., Rodrigo, F. and Guerra-Vásquez, F. (2009) Preliminary report on the distribution of Callicebus oenantheon the eastern feet of the Andes. International Journal of Primatology30: 467-480.
  9. DeLuycker, A.M. (2007) The Ecology and Behavior of the Río Mayo Titi Monkey (Callicebus oenanthe) in the Alto Mayo, Northern Peru. PhD Thesis, Washington University.
  10. Mark, M.M. (2003) Some observations on Callicebus oenanthe in the Upper Río Mayo Valley, Peru. Neotropical Primates, 11(3): 183-187.
  11. DeLuycker, A.M. (2012) Insect prey foraging strategies in Callicebus oenanthe in northern Peru. American Journal of Primatology, 74(5): 450-461.
  12. Proyecto Mono Tocón (July, 2012)

Image credit

San Martin titi monkey, head detail  
San Martin titi monkey, head detail

© Lucy Molleson / IPPL

Lucy Molleson


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