CAPUCHIN MONKEY, the English name of a tropical American monkey scientifically known as Cebus capucinus; the plural, capuchins, is extended to embrace all the numerous species of the same genus, whose range extends from Nicaragua to Paraguay. These monkeys, whose native name is sapajou, are the typical representatives of the family Cebidae, and belong to a sub-family in which the tail is generally prehensile. From the other genera of that group (Cebinae) with prehensile tails capuchins are distinguished by the comparative shortness of that appendage, and the absence of a naked area on the under surface of its extremity. The hair is not woolly, the general build is rather stout, and the limbs are of moderate length and slenderness. The name capuchin is derived from the somewhat cowl-like form assumed by the thick hair on the crown of the head of the sapajous. In their native haunts these monkeys go about in troops of considerable size, frequenting the summits of the tall forest-trees, from which they seldom, if ever, descend. In addition to fruits of various kinds, they consume tender shoots and buds, insects, eggs and young birds. Many of the species are difficult to distinguish, and very little is known of their habits in a wild state, although several members of the group are common in captivity (see Primates).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)