Panamanian Night Monkey, Aotus zonalis

The Panamanian night monkey (Aotus zonalis), also known as the Chocoan night monkey, is a species of night monkey that can be found in Panama and Chocó in Colombia and it is thought to be found in Costa Rica, although this cannot be confirmed. This species prefers to reside many habitats including coffee plantations and secondary forests. Although it is classified as a distinct species, it is thought that this monkey may be a subspecies of the gray-bellied night monkey.

The Panamanian night monkey varies slightly in size, with females reaching an average weight of 32.3 ounces and males reaching a weight of 31.4 ounces. The fur on its back can vary from reddish brown to greyish brown, while the fur on its stomach is yellow. This species can be distinguished from other night monkeys with similar features by its paws, which are dark brown or black in color on the back, and by its shorter fur. This species has large eyes and a tail that short compared to its body, traits that are common to night monkeys.

As its name suggests, the Panamanian night monkey is active during the nighttime hours. It gathers in groups of up to six individuals and spends its time in the trees. Groups hold territories that sometimes overlap other territories, which can result in defensive behavior if two groups meet. Individuals communicate using sounds, scents, and behavioral cues. This species is able to emit at least nine vocalizations including grunts, trills, and screams. Scent marking can be accomplished by spraying or rubbing urine on the hands and feet. Males can also communicate with scent by using the glands that develop near their tails at one year of age. Although scent communication and vocalizations are the most important form of communication to this species, it will also use behavioral cues to convey a message including an arched back, defecation, and jumping with stiff legs.

The Panamanian night monkey is monogamous, like other members of its genus, and it is able to give birth to one or two young each year. The father will carry the young monkeys one or two days after birth, giving them to the mother for feeding purposes. Adult members of this species consume a variety of food types including insects, fruits, and leaves. Although information is known about this species, there is not enough for it to be listed on the IUCN Red List with a conservation status, so it is listed as “Data Deficient.”

Image Caption: A Night Monkey (Aotus lemurinus zonalis) in Panama. Credit: dsasso/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 2.0)