Spider Monkey

Ateles fusciceps

Spider monkeys are New World monkeys found in tropical forests of Central and South America, from southern Mexico to Brazil. The genus contains seven species, all of which are under threat; the black-headed spider monkey, and brown spider monkey are critically endangered.

Disproportionately long limbs and long prehensile tails make them one of the largest New World monkeys and gives rise to their common name.

Spider monkeys live in the upper layers of the rainforest, and forage in the high canopy, from 82 to 98 ft. They primarily eat fruits, but will also occasionally consume leaves, flowers, and insects.

Due to their large size, spider monkeys require large tracts of moist evergreen forests, and prefer undisturbed primary rainforest. They are social animals and live in bands of up to 35 individuals but will split up to forage during the day.

Recent analyses on primate cognition studies indicated spider monkeys are the most intelligent New World monkeys.

They can produce a wide range of sounds and will "bark" when threatened; other vocalisations include a whinny similar to a horse and prolonged screams.

They are threatened by habitat destruction due to logging and land clearing. The population trend for spider monkeys is decreasing; the IUCN Red List lists one species as vulnerable, four species as endangered and two species as critically endangered.