Also called the Central American squirrel monkey, the red-backed squirrel monkey occurs in the forests and cultivated areas of Panama and southern Costa Rica. Adults grow from 9 to 14 inches long and weigh up to 2.2 lb. The tail can reach up to 18 inches long. Males are larger than females. Its has reddish fur and white underparts, and its face, throat and ears are white.
The red-backed squirrel monkey is social and prefers to live in groups. Groups have been seen with up to 70 monkeys. They are not aggressive and neither males nor females appear to be dominant. The monkeys like to spend most of the day in trees and feeding on fruit and insects. Breeding can occur year round and the female gives birth to one young after a gestation period of 152 to 170 days. The young depends on its mother for one year.
There may be less than 4000 red-backed squirrel monkeys left in the wild. The main cause of decline is habitat loss and deforestation due to agricultural clearing of land and tourism development. Also these monkeys were once captured and traded as pets. One protected population does exist in Costa Rica in a Corcovado reserve.