On December 9, at Apenheul Primate Park, in the Netherlands, a Panamanian Night Monkey was born. It has been six years since the park witnessed the birth of one of these small, nocturnal monkeys. The infant is doing well and can be seen with mom or riding its father’s back.
Apenheul has a special Night Monkey enclosure for all species with reversed circadian rhythms.
The Panamanian Night Monkey (Aotus zonalis), or Chocoan Night Monkey, is a species that was formerly considered a subspecies of the Gray-Bellied Night Monkey of the family Aotidae. It is native to Panama and Choco region of Colombia.
It is relatively small, with males weighing approximately 889 grams (31.4 oz) and females weighing about 916 grams (32.3 oz). The fur ranges from gray-brown to reddish-brown, and the belly is yellow.
Like other night monkeys, the Panamanian species has large eyes to accommodate its nocturnal lifestyle. But unlike many nocturnal animals, its eyes do not have a tapetum lucidum.
Arboreal and nocturnal, it is found in several types of forests, including secondary forests and coffee plantations. They live in small groups of between two and six. Groups are territorial and occupy ranges that overlap only slightly.
The species generally walks on all four legs and can run or leap when needed. They eat a variety of foods with a diet consisting of fruits, leaves, and insects.
The Panamanian Night Monkey is one of the few monogamous monkeys. A mating pair generally gives birth to a single infant each year, with twins occasionally. Gestation lasts about 133 days. The father will carry the infant from the time it is one or two days old, passing it to the mother for nursing.
According to the IUCN, major threats to the monkey are largely unknown, although deforestation is known to be taking place in parts of its home range. The species is known to occur in a number of protected areas of Colombia, Costa Rica, and Panama.
The Panamanian Night Monkey is currently classified as “Data Deficient” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. There is currently no information available on the species’ status to know of any major threats that would significantly affect the population.