It is one of the animals of the Ecuadorian Amazon that causes greater sympathy among tourists. Known by various names such as “Pocket Monkey”, “Titi pygmy”, “Monkey lion” and “Chichico”, among others, this curious specimen gives something to talk about. The “Cebuella pygmaea”, has international fame as it is the smallest species of monkey in the world.
An adult specimen measures between 14-18 centimeters, with a non-prehensile tail that reaches up to 20 centimeters, marked by dark rings. The most incredible? They reach an average weight of only 120 grams, that is, something like an orange weighs.
The dimensions between male and female do not vary significantly. They are also characterized by their fine and soft fur, which varies between grayish and brown tones. Its head stands out for a mop of longer hair, which surrounds his face in the shape of a mane, covering his ears.
The so-called “Titi” monkeys, include numerous species of small South American long-tailed monkeys. They look like a squirrel and live in the trees, like most Amazon monkeys, moving nimbly, from branch to branch. They eat mainly insects and fruits. In addition, they like to eat tree sap, opening holes in them, to which they constantly return to extract more of this honey.
Marmosets are active during the day and live in small groups, usually 5 individuals. The herds are led by a dominant pair, distinguishing thanks to the odoriferous glands in their chest and the squeals they emit when they show hostility.
In relation to this, there is another interesting feature among the so-called “Pocket Monkeys”. To defend themselves, they act in a maneuver known as mobbing, in which the entire herd is aligned with the dominant ones to attack the predator together until the latter flees. Another, though less intimidating, way of dealing with group threats is to stay very still, watching, without making a sound, until the danger has passed.
They like to rest piled up each other in hollows in the trees until dawn arrives and start very early to move in search of food. Then they follow their grooming routine and games, which they repeat several times a day.
Despite their size, they are very agile when it comes to moving through the trees, climbing and jumping, leaning on their four legs, while maintaining balance with the help of their tail. They like to hold vertically to the trunks to watch, while they make their walks in the jungle.
As for your life as a couple, there is not enough evidence to determine your behavior. Rather, opinions in the scientific community are divided. While some believe they practice monogamy, other sectors argue that they would be polyandrous.
The role of the monkeys in the jungle ecosystems is fundamental to maintain the balance, due to the different roles they fulfill, such as their contribution in the pollination and dispersal of seeds, as well as being an important link in the food chain.
Who are their main predators in nature? The capuchins (Cebus apella), the ocelot (Leopardus pardalis), the tigrillo (Leopardus tigrinus and Leopardus wiedii), the jaguarundi (Herpailurus yaguarondi), some birds of prey (that wake up calls of attention when they fly over the group) and large snakes as (Bothrops atrox).
However, they have certain characteristics that play in their favor. For example, they like to feed on certain fruits and substances that other monkeys avoid, so at least in terms of feeding, they are well supplied.
Despite its tender looks and docile nature, the “Pocket Monkey” is exposed to other dangers, in addition to predation, which make it part of Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). This means that international trade in this species must be carefully monitored. Its main threats are related to the degradation of the environment and human intervention. The capture and illegal trafficking of the “pocket Monkey” to be marketed as a pet, although prohibited by law, is still very frequent and is carried out with the help of violent methods.
There are various efforts at the local and international level to minimize the pollution and degradation of the natural habitat of “Cebuella pygmaea”. With respect to the influence of man, there is an important motivation to raise awareness of the delicate situation of this species worldwide, but the call to the local community and the tourists who visit the area, who are the most important ones, is particularly fundamentally involved.
For this reason, tourists are asked to cooperate with the protection of the “Pocket Monkey”, respecting the natural conditions of their habitat and avoiding any offer of sale related to these animals. This task of all ensure their health and welfare, both of the species and its environment.