The Common squirrel monkey is a New World monkey with a squirrel-like appearance, endemic to tropical areas of South America. This primate can be found in countries such as Bolivia and Venezuela. Around 10 years ago, this species was also introduced to Southern Florida, where these animals successfully reproduce. Additionally, a group of these monkeys have been recently spotted in Rio de Janeiro, evidently as a result of escape from an illegal pet trade capture.
Common squirrel monkeys are endemic to tropical forests of South America (Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela), typically occurring in the middle level of the rainforest canopy, although they may be found at different levels when looking for food and shelter. The ideal habitat for this species is wet areas with marshlands and swamps, although some populations also inhabit savannahs.
These monkeys are highly social creatures, forming large troops of up to 300 individuals, although most contain only 40 - 50 animals. Each such troop generally consists of females, although multiple males are always present. Social hierarchy in this species is not pronounced, but males are noticeably more dominant than females. When moving through forest, a group of these primates makes a loud noise. Overall, the social structure of this species varies between populations in different regions. Group members don't practice mutual grooming to enhance social bonds. Common squirrel monkeys are known to cooperate with the Brown capuchins, helping each other to find food and escape predators. As diurnal animals, the Common squirrel monkeys sleep in groups at night, being active during the daytime hours, when these groups split into smaller sub-groups to forage. The communication system of these monkeys includes a wide variety of calls.
Common squirrel monkeys are polygynandrous (promiscuous), which means that multiple males mate indiscriminately with multiple females. As reproductive season starts, males usually gain weight and become more active, fiercely competing over females. The winner eventually mates with majority of females. The breeding season lasts from September to November, while most births occur in February-April. A single infant is born after 150 - 170 days of gestation. The newborn baby is cared for only by its mother. It travels on the back of its mother for the first 5 - 10 weeks after birth, at which point the infant starts to occasionally leave its mother, exploring the surroundings. Independence is reached at 10 months old. The age of sexual maturity is 2 years old in females and 4 years old in males.
Although these primates aren't currently threatened with extinction, they do suffer from destruction of their natural habitat. Additionally, the Common squirrel monkeys are used in laboratories as well as captured and sold as a pet species. Nevertheless, despite the above-mentioned factors, the overall population of these animals remains stable during the last several decades.
According to IUCN, the Common squirrel monkey is widespread throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. According to the Wikipedia resource, in the 1980s, 500 and 1000 Common squirrel monkeys remained in the shuttered Masterpiece Gardens Park in Polk County. Currently, the species is classified as Least Concern (LC), although its numbers are decreasing.