21 Different Types of Monkeys (2024)

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21 Different Types of Monkeys (1)

Monkeys come in all different shapes and sizes. They are found on most continents and have certain features that make them unique.Here’s our list of 21 different type of monkey species from around the world.

Old World versus New World monkeys

Monkeys are broadly classified into two main groups based on their geographic origin and physical traits: Old World monkeys and New World monkeys. This distinction reflects their evolutionary divergence millions of years ago.

Old World Monkeysare found in Africa and Asia.

  • They belong to the Cercopithecidae family, which is closely related to apes and humans.
  • These monkeys typically have narrow noses with nostrils facing downward, similar to humans.
  • Many also have opposable thumbs, allowing for greater dexterity in grasping objects.
  • Old World monkeys possess hard callouses on their buttocks, known as ischial callosities, which aid in sitting comfortably.
    21 Different Types of Monkeys (2)

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    Key Details:

    • Informative facts about the primates
    • Suitable for nature lovers, classrooms, and home decor
    • Downloadable high-resolution PDF file
    21 Different Types of Monkeys (3)

    In contrast,New World Monkeysare native to South and Central America, particularly the Amazon rainforests.

    • Classified as platyrrhines, these monkeys have broad noses with outward-facing nostrils and lack the ischial callosities found in their Old World counterparts.
    • Many New World monkey species have prehensile tails that can wrap around branches, providing additional support and grasping abilities.
    • However, their hands generally lack the same level of dexterity as Old World monkeys.
    21 Different Types of Monkeys (4)

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    Key Details:

    • Informative facts about new world monkeys
    • Suitable for nature lovers, classrooms, and home decor
    • Downloadable high-resolution PDF file
    21 Different Types of Monkeys (5)

    Here’s a look at the 21 of the remarkable Old World and New World species of monkeys

    1. Lion-tailed Macaque

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    Scientific Name: Macaca Silenus

    Habitat: Rainforests of the Western Ghats and southern India.

    Diet: Omnivorous, eating fruits, seeds, insects, and small vertebrates.

    Risk: Endangered, with a global population estimated at fewer than 4,000 individuals.

    Size: They weigh around 4–6 kg (9–13 lb), reaching 61 cm (24 in) of body length, with an additional 38 cm (15 in) of the tail.

    Lion-tailed macaques, also known as wanderoo, have long, flowing manes that resemble themanes oflions. Their black and silver fur helps them hide and camouflage in the wild. These monkeys have cheek pouches, which they use to temporarily store food. Wanderoos are social animals, often found in groups of almost twenty to thirty members, with twice as many females and infants as males.

    Fun fact: Lion-tailed macaques use around seventeen different vocal calls to communicate, along with various posture and expression cues.

    2. Rhesus Macaques

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    Scientific Name: Macaca mulatta

    Habitat: Forests, deserts, and cities of India, China, Afghanistan, and other places in Asia.

    Diet: Omnivorous, they eat fruits, vegetables, insects, and small animals.

    Risk: Least Concern

    Size: Rhesus Macaques are medium-sized monkeys, with a weight of 5–15 kg (11–33 lb)

    Rhesus macaques have pink faces and medium tails. Their bodies are dusty brown in color, with no fur on their faces. The color of their rump is same as that of the faces and is made of stiffer tissue. The only primates that have a better population than these monkeys are humans.

    Rhesus macaques’ place in medical research is fascinating.

    These primates helped us create polio, smallpox, and HIV vaccinations and therapies.

    Rhesus macaques are used to test vaccinations and treatments because they have human-like immune systems. This important contribution to science has helped save countless human lives and made rhesus macaques an important part of the medical research community.

    Fun Fact: Rhesus monkeys have been seen swimming rivers that are one kilometer across. These skilled swimmers can be seen swimming from an age of just two days.

    3. Baboons

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    Scientific Name:Papio

    Habitat: Baboons are found in savannas, forests, and deserts, throughout Africa and parts of Arabia.

    Diet: Baboons are omnivores. Their diet includes fruits, seeds, insects, small mammals, and even other primates.

    Risk: Vulnerable or threatened due to habitat loss, hunting, and other factors. They are not endangered.

    Size: Baboons vary in size depending on the species, but they generally range from about 51 cm to 127 cm (20 to 50 in) in length and weigh between 13.5 to 45 kg (30 and 100 pounds).

    Among other traits, baboons have long, dog-like snouts, keen teeth, and strong jaws. These features help them hunt, defend, and raise their young. Their muscular jaws and sharp teeth help them crack hard-shelled nuts and seeds.

    These monkeys are very social, and their groups are called a troop. A baboon troop can have almost 200 members, and males lead this party of baboons.

    African ecosystems need baboons. They disperse seeds, helping plants develop everywhere. They regulate insect populations by eating bugs and other pests.

    Fun fact: Baboons have sharp teeth, almost equalling a lion’s canine in length.

    4. Roloway monkey

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    Scientific Name: Cercopithecus roloway

    Habitat: Dense forests of West Africa.

    Diet: Primarily herbivorous, feeding on fruits, leaves, and seeds.

    Risk: Endangered species, with small populations remaining in the wild.

    Size: Males weigh around 7 kg (15 lb) and females weigh around 4 kg (8.8 lb).

    The Roloway monkey has a distinctive appearance, with long black and white fur and a distinctive red and black face. One of the unique characteristics of the Roloway monkey is their distinctive vocalization . They are known for their loud and high-pitched calls that can be heard for miles. Unfortunately, the Roloway monkey is now an endangered species, and there are only small populations left in the wild.

    Fun Fact: Biting bananas with the skin on is straight out of a nightmare! Roloway monkeys feel the same way and peel bananas before consuming.

    5. Snow Monkeys

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    Scientific Name: Macaca fuscata


    Snow-covered areas of Japan, in the regions of Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu.

    Diet: They are primarily herbivores, consuming fruits, nuts, berries, and seeds. They also eat insects and small invertebrates, as well as occasionally feed on small mammals and birds.

    Risk: Least Concern

    Size: Snow monkeys are relatively small in size, with males weighing between 10 to 14 kg (22 to 31 lb), and females weighing between 5 to 8 kg (11 to 18 lb).

    Snow monkeys, also known as Japanese Macaques, are one of the most famous primates in the world. They are known for their unique ability to survive in cold and snowy environments, making them the only species of monkeys that live in snow-covered areas. They have thick fur coats to keep them warm, and they even enjoy soaking in hot springs to help regulate their body temperature.

    Fun Fact: You have probably often been asked to wash your fruit before consuming it. The dirt on fruits can carry harmful substances, and snow monkeys know that well. They have been found cleaning off dirt on fruits in river waters, just like we do.

    6. Langur Monkeys

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    Scientific Name: Semnopithecus

    Habitat: Found in a variety of habitats, including forests, grasslands, and urban areas of Asia.

    Diet: Primarily herbivorous, their diet consists of leaves, fruits, flowers, and other plant materials.

    Risk: The IUCN Red List lists several species of langurs as either endangered or vulnerable, including the François’ langur, Hatinh langur, and Delacour’s langur.

    Size: Langurs vary in size depending on the species, but they generally weigh between 5 and 15 kg (11 to 33 lb).

    Langur monkeys are easily recognizable by their long, slender bodies and their distinctive gray fur. Langurs are diurnal, meaning they are active during the day and sleep at night. One of the most interesting things about langurs is the way they communicate with each other. They have a complex system of vocalizations, body language, and scent marking that they use to communicate with other members of their group.

    Fun Fact: These monkeys are the most arboreal among the Old World monkeys, which means that they love to move around in trees mostly.

    7. Geladas

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    Scientific Name: Theropithecus gelada

    Habitat: High grasslands of Ethiopia

    Diet: Grasses, herbs, and leaves

    Risk: Vulnerable

    Size: Medium-sized, weighing around 20–30 kg (44–66 lb)

    Geladas are also known as “bleeding heart” monkeys. They belong to the classification of Old World monkeys and are known for the red and black marks on their chests that look like a bleeding heart. Even though geladas are peaceful, they have to be on the lookout for dangerous animals like hyenas, jackals, and eagles. Geladas stick together in big groups, which can sometimes have hundreds of members, to stay safe.

    Fun fact: What’s common between a gelada and a cow? These are the only primates that graze. Usually, they sit on the grassy ground and pick grass using their fingers.

    8. Mandrills

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    Scientific Name: Mandrillus sphinx

    Habitat: Central and Western Africa

    Diet: Nuts and hard shells

    Risk: Vulnerable

    Size: Male mandrills can weigh up to 54.5 kg (120 pounds) and reach 70–95 cm (28–37 in) in length, making them the largest species of monkey.

    Mandrills are known for their bright and distinctive markings, with a colorful face and bottom, and a bright red nose and beard. They live in groups called troops, and use their sharp teeth and strong jaws to crack open hard shells and nuts to eat.

    Fun Fact: Mandrills have an average of 620 members to one of their groups. In one incident, over 1300 mandrills were seen crossing a road.

    9. Proboscis Monkeys

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    Scientific Name: Nasalis larvatus

    Habitat: Rainforests of Borneo, an island in Southeast Asia.

    Diet: Primarily herbivorous, their diet consists of fruits, leaves, and seeds.

    Risk: Considered an endangered species due to habitat loss and hunting.

    Size: Males weigh up to 22 kg (50 lb) and females weigh around 11 kg (25 lb). They are 56–72 cm (22–28 in) long.

    Proboscis monkeys are known for their long, wrinkly noses. Male monkeys have much bigger noses than females. Proboscis monkeys use their noses for many things, like finding a mate, scaring away predators, and talking to other monkeys of the same kind. They can also swim well. When they swim in rivers and streams, they use their nose as a snorkel.

    Fun Fact: Proboscis monkeys have quite a digestive system. They have not one, not two, but nine stomachs, filled with bacteria that help digest food.

    10. Black and White Colobus Monkey

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    Scientific Name: Colobus

    Habitat: Rain forests of Africa.

    Diet: Mostly feeds on leaves, flowers, and fruits.

    Risk: Least Concern

    Size: Can weigh up to 14 kg (32 lb). They can reach a total length of 134 cm (53 in) with the tail included.

    The Black and White Colobus Monkey is different from other monkeys in how it looks and acts. They don’t have thumbs like most monkeys, but they use their long, hairy tails to keep their balance as they jump through the trees.

    Fun Fact: Colobus monkeys have a unique jump style. They bob up and down on branches and use them as a trampoline to lift off into the air and jump as far as 50 ft.

    11. Western Red Colobus

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    Scientific Name: Piliocolobus badius

    Habitat: Western region of Africa

    Diet: Tough leaves

    Risk: Endangered

    Size: They weigh between 7–12 kg (15–25 pounds) and reach a length of almost 127 cm (50 in).

    Western Red Colobus monkeys have a unique digestive system that helps them survive on a diet that primarily consists of tough leaves. The Western Red Colobus have a special pouch in their stomach that ferments the tough leaves they eat, breaking down the difficult-to-digest plant material and providing them with much-needed nutrients.

    Fun Fact: Red Colobus monkeys help the environment by dispersing seeds and so help forests to grow further.

    12. Vervet Monkeys

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    Scientific Name: Chlorocebus pygerythrus

    Habitat: Forests, savannas, and urban areas

    Diet: Omnivorous, feeding on fruits, leaves, insects, and small animals

    Risk: Least concern (as of 2021)

    Size: Small to medium-sized, with males weighing up to 8 kg (17 lb) and females weighing up to 4 kg (9 lb).

    Vervet monkeys are one of the most unique and fascinating species of monkeys you’ll ever come across. They are known for their striking greenish-grey fur and their long, slender tails. But what makes Vervet monkeys stand out the most is their incredible adaptability to different environments. These intelligent creatures also have a great memory and are known to use tools to solve problems and find food.

    New World monkeys

    “New World” refers to North and South America. Monkeys that were discovered in South American forests or in Central and North America are called New World monkeys.

    13. Squirrel Monkeys

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    Scientific Name: Saimiri sciureus

    Habitat: Rainforests of Central and South America.

    Diet: They primarily feed on fruits, insects, and spiders. They also eat flowers, leaves, and bird eggs.

    Risk: Least Concern

    Size: Squirrel monkeys are small primates and are one of the smallest monkeys in the world. They typically weigh between 0.5 to 1 kg (1.1 and 2.4 lb).

    Most squirrel monkeys are small and have brightly colored fur and long tails. Squirrel monkeys move quickly and live in trees. They can hold on to trees and other things with their long fingers and toes; these long digits make it easier for them to move. Squirrel monkeys exist in large groups with hundreds of members. They talk to each other and stay together by calling and barking.

    Fun Fact: Squirrel monkeys are considered to be one of the cleverest monkeys. They have relatively large brains compared to their body. Their big brains pay off, as they have around 30 different calls to communicate.

    14. Spix's Night Monkey

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    Scientific Name: Aotus vociferans

    Habitat: Amazon rainforest

    Diet: Fruits, insects, and leaves.

    Risk: Least Concern

    Size: Small to medium-sized, with a body length of about 30–40 cm (11.8 to 15.8 in) and a weight of around 1–2 kg (2.2–4.4 pounds).

    The Spix’s night monkey in the Amazon rainforest is a strange animal. Spix’s night monkey is active at night and sleeps all day, which is different from other monkeys. This helps them avoid being hunted or eaten.

    These monkeys have big eyes and unique tails and limbs that help them find their way around trees at night. These are the only monkeys that are completely colorblind and see the world in shades of grey, black, and white.

    Fun Fact: These small monkeys never let go of intensity in a fight. One of the most aggressive among New World monkeys, monkeys of the same sex fight savagely.

    15. Capuchin Monkeys

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    Scientific Name: Sapajus libidinosus

    Habitat: Central and South America.

    Diet: Omnivores that feed on a variety of foods, including fruits, insects, and small vertebrates.

    Risk: Not currently considered to be endangered or vulnerable.

    Size: Capuchin monkeys are small primates, with adults weighing between 1.3 to 4 kg (3–9 lb) and measuring between 30.5 to 56 cm (12–22 in) in length.

    Capuchins are known for their distinctive appearance, including their fur which is usually brown or gray and their long tails that are used for balance. Capuchin monkeys are also known for their intelligence and ability to use tools, such as rocks and sticks, to obtain food. They live in large social groups and have a hierarchical structure , with dominant individuals holding higher social status.

    Fun Fact: These were the first monkeys that were seen using tools in the wild.

    16. Marmosets

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    Scientific Name: Callithrix jacchus

    Habitat: South America, particularly in the Amazon rainforest.

    Diet: Primary diet consists of tree sap and gum.

    Risk: Least Concern

    Size: Marmosets are known for their small size, with most species weighing less than a pound.

    Marmosets are a type of monkey that are unique compared to many other species. Unlike other monkeys, marmosets have long tails that are often longer than their bodies. Another unique characteristic of marmosets is their diet. They are omnivores , but feed primarily on tree sap and gum. To obtain this food, marmosets have specialized teeth and jaws that allow them to gnaw into the bark of trees.

    Fun Fact: These monkeys have been observed to be the best at adapting to human changes in their environment.

    17. Emperor Tamarin

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    Scientific Name: Saguinus imperator

    Habitat: South American rainforests

    Diet: Omnivores that eat plants and animals such as insects and small reptiles.

    Risk: Not currently endangered or vulnerable

    Size: They weigh 0.5 kg (1 pound) and reach 25.5 cm (10 in) in length

    Emperor Tamarins are small monkeys with a unique and distinctive look. They are known for their long, white mustaches that grows from their upper lip and can be up to 2 inches long! They use their sharp claws to climb trees, which helps them escape from predators, like birds of prey and big cats. These are one of the most primitive New World monkeys, and have retained claws like their ancestors, the Old World monkeys.

    18. Saki Monkeys

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    Scientific Name: Pithecia

    Habitat: South America

    Diet: They feed on fruits, insects, leaves, flowers, and small animals.

    Risk: Some species are threatened, but not all are considered endangered.

    Size: Approximately weighing 1.5 to 3 kg (3.3 to 6.6 pounds)

    Saki monkeys are known for their unique appearance, with a long, shaggy coat of fur and a distinctive, fox-like face. Sakis are active during the day and are generally peaceful, avoiding conflict with other animals. They are an important part of their ecosystem , helping to spread seeds and pollinate plants as they feed.

    Fun Fact: Saki monkeys have a thick tail, however, it is not prehensile, and hence cannot be used to grab branches.

    19. Spider Monkeys

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    Scientific Name: Ateles

    Habitat: Rainforests of Central and South America

    Diet: Fruits, nuts, seeds, insects, and small vertebrates

    Risk: Some species are endangered, while others are vulnerable.

    Size: Spider monkeys can grow up to 61cm (24 in) in length, with a tail that can be as long as 91.5 cm (36 in). They can weigh between 13 to 20 pounds (6 to 9 pounds), with males generally being larger than females.

    Spider monkeys are a type of that are known for their long, slender arms and legs. They have a prehensile tail that they use like an extra hand to swing from tree to tree. Spider monkeys live in the rainforests of Central and South America and are active during the day. They are highly social animals and live in large groups.

    Fun fact: Unlike many monkey groups, spider monkeys don’t usually have a male lead the group. Instead, female spider monkeys lead spider monkey parties.

    20. Howler Monkeys

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    Scientific Name: Alouatta

    Habitat: Central and South American dense forests

    Diet: Mostly plants, including leaves, fruits, and flowers.

    Risk: Least Concern

    Size: The exact size of howler monkeys can vary depending on the species, but they can weigh anywhere from 3.6 to 10 kg (8–22 lb).

    Howler monkeys are different from other primates because of the loud, booming sounds they make. In fact, they are the loudest land animals! Howler monkeys are also unique because their tails are like extra hands that they use to grab branches and swing through the trees. They have long arms and legs and can jump from one tree to another tree up to 40 feet away.

    Fun Fact: The howler monkeys have a record to justify their name. They are the loudest land animals!

    21. Golden Lion Tamarins

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    Scientific Name: Leontopithecus rosalia

    Habitat: Found in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil.

    Diet: Primarily feeds on fruit, insects, and small vertebrates.

    Risk: Endangered species.

    Size: These monkeys are relatively small, weighing only around 0.6 kg (1.5 pounds).

    Golden Lion Tamarins are easily recognizable with their bright golden fur and long mane that covers their neck and chest. These monkeys are also important to conserve as they are an endangered species. Conservation efforts, such as the creation of protected areas and reforestation projects, have helped to stabilize the population of Golden Lion Tamarins, but they still need ongoing support to ensure their survival.

    Fun Fact: Female golden lion tamarins give birth to twins, and their groups, containing two to nine individuals, help a lot in parenting. Fathers help the most.

    There are many different types of monkeys, each with their own unique features and behaviors. From the small and agile marmosets to the large and powerful mandrills, monkeys come in all shapes and sizes. Whether they have long tails, distinctive noses, or unique eating habits, all monkeys are fascinating creatures to learn about. Understanding their different characteristics helps us appreciate the incredible diversity of the animal kingdom.

    Read More

    • What do monkeys eat?
    • Wildlife Biologist Mrinalini Erkenswick Watsa
    • Animals with the best memory


    Primates: A group of animals that includes monkeys, apes, lemurs, and tarsiers.

    Ecosystem: A biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment.

    Arboreal: Describing an organism that lives in or is adapted to life in trees.

    Nocturnal: Active during the night, as opposed to diurnal which is active during the day.

    Vocalizations: Sounds made by animals, such as calls, songs, or grunts, used for communication or to signal their presence.

    Hierarchical structure: A way of organizing a group in which members are classified based on their relative importance or authority.

    Omnivore: An organism that eats both plants and animals as a source of nutrition.

    Prehensile Tail: A tail that is capable of gripping or holding objects, found in some primates and other mammals.

    Colorblind: Unable to see or to distinguish between certain colors; in some cases, this may mean an inability to see color at all

    New World: Land in the western hemisphere, including North and South America.

    Old World: Land in the eastern hemisphere, including Europe, Africa, and Asia.

    21 Different Types of Monkeys (2024)


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