Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Saimiri Vogt, 1831

Platyrrhine genus to which the squirrel monkeys belong; one to five species recognized depending on author. The systematics are complex and many workers simplify the matter by recognizing only one species with up to eight subspecies. Occupy a wide variety of forest types, although they prefer gallery and secondary forest, from southern Costa Rica into Panama, where their range breaks, and then from the Amazon side of central Columbia to Bolivia. Arboreal; diurnal; quadrupedal. Body mass ranges from 750 to 1100 g; males larger than females. Dental formula: 2.1.3.3; frugivorous with insect supplements. The brain to body ratio is second only to humans among the primates. Squirrel monkeys live in large troops that can have as many as 180 members; they frequently compete with larger-bodied primates through mobbing behavior, by which they can take over a fruiting tree. Squirrel monkey troops often form an association with capuchin monkeys for feeding and traveling.

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