Spider Monkey
Ateles geoffroyi

CLASS: Mammalia
ORDER: Primates
FAMILY: Cebidae

SIZE:
Length: head and body, 20-40 inches; tail, 20-35 inches; weight, 13-15 lbs.

RANGE:
Coastal forests of Mexico, Central America, and parts of northern South America, including Educador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guiana and Brazil.

HABITAT:
Lowland rain and mountain forests, upper canopy.

DIET:
Wild - Herbivore, mainly fruits and nuts, some buds and flowers
Zoo - Primate biscuits, fruits, vegetables

ADAPTATIONS:

  • Vision -- eyes are forward giving binocular vision. Ability to judge distance is critical for an animal that lives in the treetops.
  • Arms and legs -- they are long and when walking on all fours appear spider-like. Arms are longer than legs being more important in locomotion through the treetops. These monkeys, in the wild, rarely descend to the ground.
  • Brachiation -- regarded as an excellent brachiator, (second only to the gibbon), they are able to move quickly through trees to escape predators.
  • Tail -- long, flexible, prehensile, and acts as an "extra hand". It is able to support the animal's entire weight, allowing it to hand and retrieve fruit from lower branches.
  • Social Unit -- associate in small groups of 2 to 8 individuals which are small units of a main band numbering 15 to 25. Bands are somewhat territorial (varies with season) centering around food supplies and lodge trees. In this way, the monkeys can secure a food source as well as receive additional protection from predators.

STATUS:
Varies according to species, but numbers are declining due to expanding commerce, timber and rubber trade (loss of habitat).

REFERENCE:
"Mammals of the World", Vol. 1, Walker
"A Handbook of Living Primates", J.R. Napier
"Animal Encyclopedia", Vol. 10, Dr. Bernhard Grzimek