Panamanian Night Monkey (Aotus zonalis)

The Panamanian night monkey, also known as the Chocoan night monkey, is a remarkable species of primate belonging to the Aotidae family. Formerly considered a subspecies of the gray-bellied night monkey, Aotus lemurinus, the Panamanian night monkey is now recognized as a distinct species, Aotus zonalis.


Night monkey on a tree branch
Edwin-Butter / Envato

The Panamanian night monkey is characterized by its striking appearance and nocturnal behavior. With large, expressive eyes and a thick, luxurious coat, this species is well-adapted to its predominantly nocturnal lifestyle. Their unique features enable them to navigate and thrive in the dimly lit forests where they are most active.


Night monkey closeup shot
Edwin-Butter / Envato

These night monkeys are easily recognizable by their large eyes, which provide exceptional night vision, and a distinctive coat of fur. Their fur coloration can vary, but they typically have a dark, dense coat that aids in camouflage within their forest habitat. Their appearance sets them apart from other primate species, making them an intriguing subject for wildlife enthusiasts and researchers alike.


Night monkey in the wild
Edwin-Butter / Envato

The range of the Panamanian night monkey includes Panama and the Choc√≥ region of Colombia. These areas are crucial to the species’ survival, as they provide the specific environmental conditions necessary for their well-being. Understanding the distribution patterns and population density of this species is essential for effective conservation efforts and habitat protection.

Habitat Preferences

Panamanian night monkeys are found in lowland and submontane forests, thriving in diverse ecosystems up to 3,280 feet (1,000 m) above sea level. They prefer moist forests, dry forests, secondary forests, and coffee plantations. These habitats provide the necessary resources for their survival, including food sources and shelter. Conservation efforts should focus on preserving and restoring these vital ecosystems to ensure the continued well-being of the Panamanian night monkey.

By understanding and appreciating the unique characteristics, distribution, and habitat preferences of the Panamanian night monkey, we can work towards conserving this fascinating species for future generations.

Facts About Panamanian Night Monkey

  • The Panamanian night monkey (Aotus zonalis) is a relatively small monkey, with males weighing approximately 889 grams (31.4 oz) and females weighing about 916 grams.
  • They have large brown eyes, which, unlike many nocturnal animals, lack a tapetum lucidum, a layer of tissue in the eye that improves night vision.
  • The Panamanian night monkey is a species of night monkey formerly considered a subspecies of the gray-bellied night monkey.
  • They are listed as near threatened by the IUCN.
  • The average lifespan of the Panamanian night monkey is up to 18 years.
  • They can grow up to 38.62 inches in length.
  • They are nocturnal monkeys that live in parts of Central and South America.
  • The population size of the Panamanian night monkey is currently unknown.
  • They are also known as the Chocoan night monkey.
  • The scientific name for the Panamanian night monkey is Aotus zonalis.

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