Black spider monkey

Spider monkeys are found in healthy tropical rainforests in Central and South America. The black spider monkey, Ateles paniscus, is one of three species of spider monkey.

Both: Black spider-monkey. French Guiana. rel=
Both: Black spider-monkey (Ateles paniscus), French Guiana.
© WWF-Canon / Roger LeGUEN

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Key Facts

  • Common Names

    Guiana spider monkey, black spider monkey, red-faced black spider monkey

  • Scientific Name

    Ateles paniscus

  • Status

    Vulnerable (A2cd) CITES Appendix II

  • Geographic Location

    Northern South America

This information has been reviewed by Dr Meg Symington, Director, Latin America and Caribbean, WWF-US.
Physical Description
Black spider monkeys are one of the largest primates in south America. They exhibit anatomical and locomotory adaptions not unlike those of apes.

Their prehensile tail allows them to find stability when sitting on branches, to reach out for food at the tip of fragile branches by suspending themselves, and also as a fifth member for moving in perilous places.

Size
Their weight ranges from 7-9 kg. Body is 40-60 cms, and the tail is 60-80 cms.

Colour
Black all over, although the face can be a different colour.

Habitat & Ecology
Spider monkeys prefer pristine (mature) tropical forests and seldom venture into disturbed habitats, making them especially susceptible to forest fragmentation.

Breeding
Black spider monkeys give birth to one offspring every 3-4 years. The gestation period is 7.5 months. Young stay with their mothers for at least 3 years. Sexual maturity occurs at 3-4 years.

Threats
The population is estimated to have fallen by 30% over 45 years, primarily due to habitat loss and hunting.
Major habitat type
Tropical and Subtropical Moist Broadleaf Forests

Biogeographic realm
Neotropical

Range States
Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Brazil

Geographical Location
Northern South America

Ecological Region
Guianan Moist Forests

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    Did you know?

    • The black spider monkey has an important role in seed dispersal in tropical forests.

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