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All Things Monkey.
Information and pictures on Monkeys.
Educational, Zoological, and Classification info.



A monkey is any member of either the New World monkeys or Old World monkeys, two of the three groupings of simian primates, the third group being the apes. The New World monkeys are classified within the parvorder Platyrrhini, whereas the Old World monkeys (superfamily Cercopithecoidea) form part of the parvorder Catarrhini, which also includes the apes. Thus, scientifically speaking, monkeys do not form a "natural group", in that the Old World monkeys are actually more closely related to the apes than they are to the New World species. There are 264 known extant species of monkey. Because of their similarity to monkeys, apes such as chimpanzees and gibbons are often called monkeys in informal usage, though they are not monkeys. Conversely, due to its size (up to 1 m) the Mandrill is often thought to be an ape, but it is actually an Old World monkey. Also, a few monkey species have the word "ape" in their common name. Because they are not a single coherent group, monkeys do not have any particular traits that they all share and are not shared with the remaining group of simians, the apes.

Monkeys range in size from the Pygmy Marmoset, at 14-16 cm (5-6 inch) long (plus tail) and 120-140 g (4-5 oz) in weight, to the male Mandrill, almost 1 meter (3 ft) long and weighing 35 kg (75 lb). Some are arboreal (living in trees), some live Monkeys on the savannah; diets differ among the various species but may contain any of the following: fruit, leaves, seeds, nuts, flowers, insects, spiders, eggs and small animals.
Some characteristics are shared among the groups; most New World monkeys have prehensile tails while Old World monkeys have non-prehensile tails or no visible tail at all. Some have tri-chromatic color vision like that of humans, others are di-chromate or mono-chromates. Although both the New and Old World monkeys, like the apes, have forward facing eyes, the faces of Old World and New World monkeys look very different, though again, each group shares some features such as the types of noses, cheeks and rumps. In order to understand the monkeys, it is necessary to study the characteristics of the different groups individually.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word "monkey" may originate in a German version of the Big Virgina fable, published circa 1580. In this version of the fable, a character named Moneke is the son of Martin the Ape. The word Moneke may have been derived from the Italian monna, which means "a female ape". The name Moneke likely persisted over time due to the popularity of Reynard the Fox.
A group of monkeys may be referred to as a mission or a tribe.

MonkeysThe following lists shows where the various monkey families (bolded) are placed in the Primate classification. Note that the smallest grouping that contains them all is the Simiiformes, the simians, which also contains the apes. Calling apes "monkeys" is incorrect. Calling either a simian is correct.

    • Suborder Strepsirrhini: non-tarsier prosimians
    • Suborder Haplorrhini: tarsiers, monkeys and apes
      • Infraorder Tarsiiformes
        • Family Tarsiidae: tarsiers
      • Infraorder Simiiformes: simians
        • Parvorder Platyrrhini: New World monkeys
      • Family Cebidae: marmosets, tamarins, capuchins and squirrel monkeys (56 species)
      • Family Aotidae: night monkeys, owl monkeys, douroucoulis (8 species)
      • Family Pitheciidae: titis, sakis and uakaris (41 species)
      • Family Atelidae: howler, spider and woolly monkeys (24 species)
        • Parvorder Catarrhini
      • Superfamily Cercopithecoidea
    • Family Cercopithecidae: Old World monkeys (135 species)
      • Superfamily Hominoidea: apes
    • Family Hylobatidae: gibbons ("lesser apes") (13 species)
    • Family Hominidae: great apes including humans (7 species)

Scientific classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Suborder: Haplorrhini
Infraorder: Simiiformes in part

Approximate worldwide distribution of monkeys.


  • Cebidae
  • Aotidae
  • Pitheciidae
  • Atelidae
  • Cercopithecidae

Monkeys in captivity
Some organizations such as Helping Hands have been training capuchin monkeys to assist quadriplegics and other people with severe spinal cord injuries or mobility impairments. After being socialized in a human home as infants, the monkeys undergo extensive training before being placed with a quadriplegic. Around the house, the monkeys help out by doing tasks including microwaving food, washing the quadriplegic's face, and opening drink bottles.
In 2007, S.S. Bajwa, the deputy mayor of Delhi (India) was killed after a fall while being attacked by monkeys.

In laboratories
Macaques, especially the Rhesus Macaque, and African green monkeys are widely used in animal testing facilities. This is primarily because of their relative ease of handling, their fast reproductive cycle (compared to apes) and their psychological and physical similarity to humans. In the United States, around 50,000 non-human primates, most of them monkeys, have been used in experiments every year since 1973 10,000 monkeys were used in the European Union in 2004.
The use of monkeys in laboratories is controversial. Some claim that it is cruel and produces little information of value, and there have been many protests, Monkeys vandalism to testing facilities, and threats to workers. Others claim that it has led to many important medical breakthroughs such as the rabies vaccine, understanding of human reproduction and basic knowledge about brain function, and that the prevention of harm to humans should be a higher priority than the possible harm done to monkeys. The topic has become a popular cause for animal rights groups.
The use of all animals in research in most countries (certainly the United States) is controlled rigorously by Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUC). In monkey research the standards for surgery and post surgical care are as strict as those for humans.

In space
A number of countries have used monkeys as part of their space exploration programs, including the United States and France. The first monkey in space was Albert II who flew in the US-launched V2 rocket in June 14, 1949.

New World Monkeys

  • A
    • Amazon Black Howler
    • Ashy Black Titi
    • Atelidae
    • Atelinae
    • Atlantic Titi
    • Azara's Night Monkey
  • B
    • Bald Uakari
    • Baptista Lake Titi
    • Barbara Brown's Titi
    • Bare-eared Squirrel Monkey
    • Bearded saki
    • Black Bearded Saki
    • Black Capuchin
    • Black Howler
    • Black Lion Tamarin
    • Black Squirrel Monkey
    • Black Tamarin
    • Black Titi
    • Black-capped Squirrel Monkey
    • Black-fronted Titi
    • Black-headed Marmoset
    • Black-headed Night Monkey
    • Black-headed Spider Monkey
    • Black-headed Uakari
    • Black-mantled Tamarin
    • Black-striped Capuchin
    • Black-tailed Marmoset
    • Black-tufted Marmoset
    • Blond Capuchin
    • Bolivian Red Howler
    • Brown Howler
    • Brown Spider Monkey
    • Brown Titi
    • Brown Woolly Monkey
    • Brown-backed Bearded Saki
    • Brown-mantled Tamarin
    • Brumback's Night Monkey
    • Buffy-headed Marmoset
    • Buffy-tufted Marmoset
  • C
    • Callitrichinae
    • Capuchin monkey
    • Cebidae
    • Central American Squirrel Monkey
    • Chestnut-bellied Titi
    • Coastal Black-handed Titi
    • Coiba Island Howler
    • Coimbra Filho's Titi
    • Collared Titi
    • Colombian Black-handed Titi
    • Colombian Woolly Monkey
    • Common Marmoset
    • Common Squirrel Monkey
    • Coppery Titi
    • Cottontop Tamarin
  • E
    • Emilia's Marmoset
    • Emperor Tamarin
    • Equatorial Saki
  • F
    • Feline Night Monkey
  • G
    • Geoffroy's Spider Monkey
    • Geoffroy's Tamarin
    • Goeldi's Marmoset
    • Gold-and-white Marmoset
    • Golden Lion Tamarin
    • Golden-bellied Capuchin
    • Golden-headed Lion Tamarin
    • Golden-mantled Tamarin
    • Monkey
    • Graells's Tamarin
    • Gray Woolly Monkey
    • Gray-bellied Night Monkey
    • Guatemalan Black Howler
  • H
    • Hershkovitz's Marmoset
    • Hershkovitz's Night Monkey
    • Hershkovitz's Titi
    • Hoffmanns's Titi
    • Howler monkey
    • Hybrid spider monkey
  • K
    • Kaapori Capuchin
  • L
    • Large-headed Capuchin
    • Lion tamarin
    • Lucifer Titi
  • M
    • Manicore Marmoset
    • Mantled Howler
    • Marca's Marmoset
    • Marmoset
    • Martins's Tamarin
    • Maués Marmoset
    • Monk Saki
    • Mottle-faced Tamarin
    • Moustached Tamarin
    • Muriqui
  • N
    • Nancy Ma's Night Monkey
    • Night monkey
    • Northern Muriqui
  • O
    • Ollala Brothers' Titi
    • Ornate Titi
  • P
    • Peruvian Night Monkey
    • Peruvian Spider Monkey
    • Pied Tamarin
    • Pitheciidae
    • Pitheciinae
    • Prince Bernhard's Titi
    • Pygmy Marmoset
  • R
    • Red howler monkey
    • Red-backed Bearded Saki
    • Red-bellied Titi
    • Red-faced Spider Monkey
    • Red-handed Howler
    • Red-handed Tamarin
    • Red-headed Titi
    • Rio Acari Marmoset
    • Rio Beni Titi
    • Rio Mayo Titi
    • Rio Purus Titi
    • Rio Tapajós Saki
    • Roosmalens' Dwarf Marmoset
  • S
    • Saki monkey
    • Santarem Marmoset
    • Satéré Marmoset
    • Silvery Marmoset
    • Silvery Woolly Monkey
    • Southern Muriqui
    • Spider monkey
    • Spix's Night Monkey
    • Squirrel monkey
    • Stephen Nash's Titi
    • Superagui Lion Tamarin
  • T
    • Tamarin
    • Three-striped Night Monkey
    • Titi
    • Tufted Capuchin
  • U
    • Uakari
    • User:Pretzelogic/test
    • Uta Hick's Bearded Saki
  • V
    • Venezuelan Red Howler
  • W
    • Weeper Capuchin
    • White Marmoset
    • White-cheeked Spider Monkey
    • White-coated Titi
    • White-eared Titi
    • White-faced Saki
    • White-footed Saki
    • White-footed Tamarin
    • White-fronted Capuchin
    • White-fronted Spider Monkey
    • White-headed Capuchin
    • White-headed Marmoset
    • White-lipped Tamarin
    • White-nosed Saki
    • White-tailed Titi
    • Wied's Marmoset
    • Woolly monkey
  • Y
    • Yellow-tailed Woolly Monkey

Old World monkey

  • A
    • Allen's Swamp Monkey
    • Angola Colobus
    • Angolan Talapoin
    • Arunachal Macaque
    • Assam Macaque
  • B
    • Baboon
    • Banded Surili
    • Barbary Macaque
    • Bioko Drill
    • Black Colobus
    • Black Snub-nosed Monkey
    • Black-and-white colobus
    • Black-footed Gray Langur
    • Black-shanked Douc
    • Blue Monkey
    • Bonnet Macaque
    • Booted Macaque
  • C
    • Campbell's Mona Monkey
    • Capped Langur
    • Celebes Crested Macaque
    • Cercopithecinae
    • Chacma Baboon
    • Chlorocebus
    • Collared Mangabey
    • Colobinae
    • Crab-eating Macaque
    • Crested Mona Monkey
    • Crested mangabey
  • D
    • De Brazza's Monkey
    • Delacour's Langur
    • Diana Monkey
    • Douc
    • Drill (mammal)
    • Dryas Monkey
    • Dusky Leaf Monkey
  • E
    • Eastern Black-and-white Colobus
  • F
    • Formosan Rock Macaque
    • Francois' Langur
  • G
    • Gabon Talapoin
    • Gee's Golden Langur
    • Gelada
    • Golden Snub-nosed Monkey
    • Golden-bellied Mangabey
    • Gorontalo Macaque
    • Gray Snub-nosed Monkey
    • Gray langur
    • Gray-shanked Douc
    • Greater Spot-nosed Monkey
    • Green Monkey
    • Grey-cheeked Mangabey
    • Grivet
    • Guenon
    • Guinea Baboon
  • H
    • Hamadryas Baboon
    • Hamlyn's Monkey
    • Hatinh Langur
    • Heck's Macaque
    • Hose's Langur
  • J
    • Japanese Macaque
    • Javan Lutung
    • Javan Surili
  • K
    • Kinda Baboon
    • King Colobus
    • Kipunji
  • L
    • L'Hoest's Monkey
    • Laotian Langur
    • Lesser Spot-nosed Monkey
    • Lesser spot nosed guenon
    • Lion-tailed Macaque
    • Lophocebus ugandae
    • Lutung
  • M
    • Macaque
    • Mainland Drill
    • Malbrouck
    • Mandrill
    • Mandrillus
    • Mantled Guereza
    • Mentawai Langur
    • Miss Waldron's Red Colobus
    • Moor Macaque
    • Moustached Guenon
    • Muna-Buton Macaque
  • N
    • Nicobar Long-tailed Macaque
    • Nilgiri Langur
    • Northern Plains Gray Langur
  • O
    • Olive Baboon
    • Olive Colobus
  • P
    • Pagai Island Macaque
    • Papionini
    • Parapapio
    • Patas Monkey
    • Pennant's Colobus
    • Phayre's Leaf Monkey
    • Pig-tailed Langur
    • Preuss's Monkey
    • Proboscis Monkey
    • Purple-faced Langur
  • R
    • Red colobus
    • Red-eared Guenon
    • Red-shanked Douc
    • Red-tailed Monkey
    • Rhesus Macaque
  • S
    • Sclater's Guenon
    • Silvery Lutung
    • Snub-nosed monkey
    • Sooty Mangabey
    • Southern Pig-tailed Macaque
    • Stump-tailed Macaque
    • Sumatran Surili
    • Sun-tailed Monkey
    • Surili
  • T
    • Talapoin
    • Tana River Red Colobus
    • Tenasserim Lutung
    • Thomas's Langur
    • Tibetan Macaque
    • Tonkean Macaque
    • Tonkin Snub-nosed Langur
    • Toque Macaque
  • U
    • Ursine Colobus
    • Uzungwa Red Colobus
  • V
    • Vervet Monkey
  • W
    • Wadi monkey
    • Western Red Colobus
    • White-eyelid mangabey
    • White-fronted Surili
    • White-headed Langur
    • White-thighed Surili
    • White-throated Guenon
    • Wolf's Mona Monkey
  • Y
    • Yellow Baboon
  • Z
    • Zanzibar Red Colobus

Prehistoric monkeys

  • B
    • Branisella boliviana
  • C
    • Chilecebus carrascoensis
    • Cuban Monkey
  • D
    • Dolichocebus
  • H
    • Homunculus patagonicus
  • K
    • Killikaike blakei
  • M
    • Mesopithecus
  • P
    • Parapapio
  • T
    • Tremacebus
  • V
    • Victoriapithecus macinnesi


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