Poeppig’s woolly monkey (Lagothrix poeppigii)

Poeppig's woolly monkey portrait
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Poeppig’s woolly monkey fact file

Poeppig’s woolly monkey description

GenusLagothrix (1)

Poeppig's woolly monkey (Lagothrix poeppigii) ranges in colour from red/orange through chestnut-brown to nearly black with a silvery sheen. Woolly monkeys have prehensile tails with a palm-pad on the top end of the tail (3). The hands, head, feet and abdomen fur is black, the chest fur of the adults is russet-red and is more distinctive in the males. The skin of the face, hands and tail palm is black (3). The males are also larger than the females with a proportionally shorter tail, larger canines, and well-developed jowls and distinctive bumps on either side of the head, giving a heart-shaped appearance (2) (3).

Also known as
brown woolly monkey; lowland woolly monkey.
Lagothrix lagothricha poeppigii.
Macaco Barrigudo, Mono Barrigudo.
Head-body length – male: 46 – 58 cm (2)
Head-body length – female: 46 – 65 cm (2)
Tail length – male: 53 – 77 cm (2)
Tail length – female: 62 – 72 cm (2)
Weight – male: 3.6 – 10.0 kg (2)
Weight – female: 3.5 – 6.5 kg (2)

Poeppig’s woolly monkey biology

Poeppig’s woolly monkey lives in mixed-sex groups of between 10 and 45 individuals, and sometimes as many as 70 individuals. These groups travel up to two kilometres per day eating a diet of mainly fruit, but also leaves, flowers, gum, seeds, invertebrates, birds and small mammals (2) (5). They are very efficient seed dispersers (3). It is thought that they travel further when insect prey abundance is high (5). Home ranges of different groups overlap, but aggression between groups is rare and territoriality seems to be low (4). The males are dominant in the group hierarchy and both males’ and females’ positions in the hierarchy is influenced by age, character, familial and intra-group alliances (2) (3). Most active during the day, the monkeys sleep at night in the upper canopy. Communication between Poeppig’s woolly monkeys is visual, vocal and through smell. Males will rub their chests to indicate hostility; receptive females smack their lips and teeth-chatter, and submission to superiors is shown by lowering or shutting the eyes whilst making a sobbing sound and covering the mouth. This last action is also performed to reassure infants. Males and even occasionally females will use scent glands on their chests to mark territory and to assert dominance. The monkeys have around 14 known vocalisations including barks, screams, grunts, chuckles and loud descending trills. The alarm call ‘yoohk yoohk’ is given by the whole group in chorus when they feel threatened (2).

Female Poeppig’s woolly monkeys become sexually receptive at about four years old (3). They have a 21-day oestrus cycle, but young are only born about every two to three years. Pregnancy lasts a massive 223 days and single births occur at any time of year. After birth, the infant will cling to the female’s long chest fur, and from about two weeks will gradually spend more time riding on her back and is nursed for at least a year (3). Males are fully mature at eight years, and individuals can live for up to 25 years (2).


Poeppig’s woolly monkey range

Poeppig’s woolly monkey is found in Brazil, eastern Ecuador and northern Peru (1) (2).


Poeppig’s woolly monkey habitat

Poeppig’s woolly monkey inhabits lowland and high-elevation subtropical and tropical moist rainforest, spending most of its time in the upper canopy (1) (2).


Poeppig’s woolly monkey status

Poeppig’s woolly monkey is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Vulnerable


Poeppig’s woolly monkey threats

Poeppig’s woolly monkeys are particularly sensitive to both hunting pressure and human presence. Disturbed areas of forest are usually abandoned (5).


Poeppig’s woolly monkey conservation

Conservation efforts are currently minimal with only three protected areas home to Poeppig’s woolly monkeys (2).

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

Find out more

For further information about Poeppig's woolly monkey:

  • The Monkey Sanctuary Trust:


Authentication provided by Rachel Hevesi, The Monkey Sanctuary Trust (October 2004).



Home range
The area occupied by an animal during routine activities, which is not actively defended.
Animals with no backbone, such as insects, crustaceans, worms, molluscs, spiders, cnidarians (jellyfish, corals, sea anemones), echinoderms, and others.
The time of ovulation (release of an egg from the ovary) in female mammals, when the female becomes receptive to males, also known as ‘heat’.
An area occupied and defended by an animal, a pair of animals or a colony.


  1. IUCN Red List (April, 2011)
  2. Richardson, M. (2004) Pers. comm.
  3. Hevesi, R. (2004) Pers. comm.
  4. Fiore, A.D. (2003) Ranging behaviour and foraging ecology of lowland woolly monkeys (Lagothrix lagothricha poeppigii) in YasunA National Park, Ecuador. American Journal of Primatology, 59(2): 47 - 66.
  5. Primate Research in Yasuni National Park, Ecuador (October, 2004)

Image credit

Poeppig's woolly monkey portrait  
Poeppig's woolly monkey portrait

© Cyril Ruoso / Biosphoto

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