The Pitheciidae are one of the five families of New World monkeys now recognised. Formerly, they were included in the family Atelidae. The family includes the titis, saki monkeys and uakaris. Most species are native to the Amazon region of Brazil, with some being found from Colombia in the north to Bolivia in the south.

Temporal range: Miocene to Present
White-faced saki (Pithecia pithecia)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Suborder: Haplorhini
Infraorder: Simiiformes
Parvorder: Platyrrhini
Family: Pitheciidae
Mivart, 1865
Type genus
Desmarest, 1804
Genera (extant)


Pithecids are small to medium-sized monkeys, ranging from 23 cm in head-body length for the smaller titis, to 44–49 cm for the uakaris. They have medium to long fur, in a wide range of colors, often with contrasting patches, especially on the face.

They are diurnal and arboreal animals, found in tropical forests from low-lying swamp to mountain slopes. They are predominantly herbivorous, eating mostly fruit and seeds, although some species will also eat a small number of insects. Sakis and uakaris have a diastema between the canine and premolar teeth, but the titis, which have unusually small canines for New World monkeys, do not.[2] All species have the dental formula:

Females give birth to a single young after a gestation period of between four and six months, depending on species. The uakaris and bearded sakis are polygamous, living in groups of 8-30 individuals. Each group has multiple males, which establish a dominance hierarchy amongst themselves. The titis and Pithecia sakis, by contrast, are monogamous and live in much smaller family groups.[2]


There are 54 currently recognized extant species of pithecid monkey, grouped into two subfamilies and six genera.[1][3] Seven extinct genera known from the fossil record are placed in the subfamily Pitheciinae and extending the age of the family to the Miocene.[4]

*Newly described species.[3]

Extinct taxa.


  1. Groves, C.P. (2005). Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 141–148. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. OCLC 62265494.
  2. Macdonald, D., ed. (1984). The Encyclopedia of Mammals. New York: Facts on File. pp. 358–361. ISBN 0-87196-871-1.
  3. Boubli, J. P., M. N. F. Da Silva, M. V. Amado, T. Hrbek, F. B. Pontual, and I. P. Farias (2008). "A taxonomic reassessment of black uakari monkeys, Cacajao melanocephalus group, Humboldt (1811), with the description of two new species". International Journal of Primatology. 29: 723–749. doi:10.1007/s10764-008-9248-7.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. The Paleobiology Database Pitheciidae entry accessed on 6 April 2010
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