Hybridization between Alouatta caraya and Alouatta guariba clamitans in captivity

We’re sorry, something doesn't seem to be working properly.

Please try refreshing the page. If that doesn't work, please contact support so we can address the problem.


Hybridization between Alouatta spp. has been suggested at contact zones of A. palliata and A. pigra in Mexico and of A. caraya and A. guariba clamitans in Brazil and Argentina. Whereas genetic data confirmed hybridization between the former pair of species, hybrid individuals of the latter pair have been putatively identified on the basis of a mosaic pelage color. In this paper, we describe the first confirmed cases of hybridization between a female A. guariba clamitans and a male A. caraya. One hybrid male was born in 2007 and one hybrid female was born in 2009 with distinct coat colors. The male resembled the newborn color pattern characteristic of A. guariba clamitans, whereas the female resembled the newborn pattern of A. caraya. The birth and survival of the male hybrid for a year and a half indicated the viability of the heterogametic sex.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2


  1. Agoramoorthy G, Hsu MJ (2000) Extragroup copulation among wild red howler monkeys in Venezuela. Folia Primatol 71:147–151

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Agostini I, Holzman I, Di Bitetti MS (2008) Infant hybrids in a newly formed mixed-species group of howler monkeys (Alouatta guariba clamitans and Alouatta caraya) in northeastern Argentina. Primates 49:304–307

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. Aguiar LM, Mellek DM, Abreu KC, Boscarato TG, Bernardi IP, Miranda JMD, Passos FC (2007) Sympatry between Alouatta caraya and Alouatta clamitans and the rediscovery of free-ranging potential hybrids in Southern Brazil. Primates 48:245–248

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. Aguiar LM, Pie MR, Passos FC (2008) Wild mixed groups of howler species (Alouatta caraya and Alouatta clamitans) and new evidence for their hybridization. Primates 49:149–152

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. Alonso C, Faria DS, Langguth A, Santee DF (1987) Variação da pelagem na área de intergradação entre Callithrix jacchus e Callithrix penicillata. Rev Brasil Biol 47:465–470

    Google Scholar 

  6. Arnold ML, Meyer A (2006) Natural hybridization in primates: one evolutionary mechanism. Zoology 109:261–276

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. Bicca-Marques JC, Calegaro-Marques C (1998) Behavioral thermoregulation in a sexually and developmentally dichromatic neotropical primate, the black-and-gold howling monkey (Alouatta caraya). Am J Phys Anthropol 106:533–546

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. Bicca-Marques JC, Prates HM, Aguiar FRC, Jones CB (2008) Survey of Alouatta caraya, the black-and-gold howler monkey, and Alouatta guariba clamitans, the brown howler monkey, in a contact zone, State of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil: evidence for hybridization. Primates 49:246–252

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. Coimbra-Filho AF, Pissinatti A, Rylands AB (1993) Experimental multiple hybridism and natural hybrids among Callithrix species from eastern Brazil. In: Rylands AB (ed) Marmosets and tamarins: systematics behaviour and ecology. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 95–120

    Google Scholar 

  10. Cortés-Ortiz L (2009) Genetic and morphological characterization of hybridization of howler monkeys in Mexico. Primate Rep (Spec Issue) 1:12

    Google Scholar 

  11. Cortés-Ortiz L, Bermingham E, Rico C, Rodríguez-Luna E, Sampaio I, Ruiz-García M (2003) Molecular systematics and biogeography of the Neotropical monkey genus, Alouatta. Mol Phylogenet Evol 26:64–81

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. Cortés-Ortiz L, Duda TF Jr, Canales-Espinosa D, García-Orduña F, Rodríguez-Luna E, Bermingham E (2007) Hybridization in large-bodied New World primates. Genetics 176:2421–2425

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. Fialho MS, Setz EZF (2007) Extragroup copulations among brown howler monkeys in southern Brazil. Neotrop Primates 14:28–30

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Gregorin R (2006) Taxonomia e variação geográfica das espécies do gênero Alouatta Lacépède (Primates, Atelidae) no Brasil. Rev Brasil Zool 23:64–144

    Google Scholar 

  15. Horwich RH (1983) Breeding behaviors in the black howler monkey (Alouatta pigra) of Belize. Primates 24:222–230

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Kowalewski MM, Peker SM, Zunino GE (2005) Promiscuous howlers: extra-group copulation in female Alouatta caraya in northern Argentina. In: Bicca-Marques JC (ed) Programa e livro de resumos do XI Congresso Brasileiro de Primatologia. Sociedade Brasileira de Primatologia, Porto Alegre, p 116

    Google Scholar 

  17. Mendes SL (1997) Hybridization in free-ranging Callithrix flaviceps and the taxonomy of the Atlantic Forest marmosets. Neotrop Primates 5:6–8

    Google Scholar 

  18. Peres CA, Patton JL, Silva MNF (1996) Riverine barriers and gene flow in Amazonian saddle-back tamarins. Folia Primatol 67:113–124

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  19. Silva BTF, Sampaio MIC, Schneider H, Schneider MPC, Montoya E, Encarnación F, Salzano FM (1992) Natural hybridization between Saimiri taxa in the Peruvian Amazonia. Primates 33:107–113

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


We thank Liliana Cortés-Ortiz and an anonymous reviewer for constructive comments on an earlier version of this manuscript. JCBM also thanks the Brazilian National Research Council for a research fellowship (CNPq #306090/2006-6 and 303154/2009-8).

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Júlio César Bicca-Marques.

About this article

Cite this article

de Souza Jesus, A., Schunemann, H.E., Müller, J. et al. Hybridization between Alouatta caraya and Alouatta guariba clamitans in captivity. Primates 51, 227–230 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10329-010-0192-8

Download citation


  • Black-and-gold howler monkey
  • Brown howler monkey
  • Hybrid male
  • Hybrid female
  • Sexual dichromatism
  • Mosaic coloration