International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 723-741

First online:

A Taxonomic Reassessment of Cacajao melanocephalus Humboldt (1811), with the Description of Two New Species

  • Jean P. BoubliAffiliated withDepartment of Anthropology, University of Auckland Email author 
  • , Maria Nazareth F. da SilvaAffiliated withColeção de Mamíferos, CPEC, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia
  • , Manuella V. AmadoAffiliated withLaboratório de Evolução e Genética Animal, Departamento de Biologia, ICB, Universidade Federal do Amazonas
  • , Tomas HrbekAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, University of Puerto Rico
  • , Francisco Boavista PontualAffiliated withDepartment of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, University of California
  • , Izeni P. FariasAffiliated withLaboratório de Evolução e Genética Animal, Departamento de Biologia, ICB, Universidade Federal do Amazonas

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The author of the last published systematic review of Cacajao recognized 2 subspecies of black-headed uakaris (black uakaris): Cacajao melanocephalus melanocephalus and C. m. ouakary. As a result of a series of black uakari surveys and collecting expeditions to several tributaries of the Rio Negro and of morphological and molecular analyses of museum specimens and specimens we collected during field expeditions, we reassess their taxonomy. We describe a newly discovered species of black uakari from the Rio Aracá, a left bank tributary of the Rio Negro, Amazonas, Brazil. We also show that ouakary is a junior synonym of melanocephalus and provide a new name and a new description for Cacajao melanocephalus melanocephalus in the Pico da Neblina region of Brazil and Venezuela. Based on genetic, morphological, and ecological evidence, we propose that there are 3 species of black uakaris. We named the Rio Aracá species Cacajao ayresi sp. nov. (Ayres uakari) in honor of the late José Márcio Ayres, a pioneer in uakari research and conservation. We named the Neblina black uakari Cacajao hosomi, after the Yanomami word for uakaris. The new taxonomic arrangement provided here implies that the conservation status of black uakaris needs to be reassessed.


Amazonia black-headed uakari Brazil Cacajao melanocephalus cytochrome b geographic distribution New World primates Pithecines Pleistocene rain forest speciation phylogeny