A White-Faced Capuchin Monkey. Photo:Michelle Reback

Facts About Monkeys

There are two main types of monkeys: the Amazon rainforest monkeys and other monkeys of the Central and South American tropics, and the Old World monkeys of Africa and Asia.

Unlike the apes—chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans, and gibbons—almost all monkeys have tails. However, most of the New World monkeys have prehensile tails, which they can use as a fifth limb, to wrap around the branches of the trees in which they live. No Old World monkeys have prehensile tails. In addition, Old World monkeys are more closely related to apes than they are to New World monkeys, and are therefore considered to be more highly evolved.

There are over 260 species of monkeys in the world—and new species are occasionally discovered in the world’s rain forests. Monkeys range in size from the 4- to 5-ounce (120 to 140 grams) pigmy marmoset of South America to the male mandrill of Africa, which can weigh up to 77 pounds (35 kilos).

Monkeys eat a diet consisting mostly of fruits and other vegetation. However, most species will also occasionally eat insects, bird eggs, and even young birds.

Most monkeys also live in social groups that live and forage together. Mutual “grooming” is an important way of strengthening social bonds among many species of monkeys.

Be Sociable, Share!