Black Spider Monkey Facts | Red-faced Spider Monkey

The black spider monkey (Ateles paniscus) is almost entirely black due to its long glossy black hair covering its body. Do you want to know more about them? Keep on reading to know amazing Black Spider Monkey Facts especially for kids. The face of Black Spider Monkeyis somewhat pinkish red which is what makes this species a unique one. They have unusually long limbs and forearms—all this combines to gives it the look of a spider.

Black Spider Monkey Facts

Black Spider Monkey Anatomy

  • The black spider monkey is not only among the largest of the New World monkeys but it is also the world’s largest spider monkey.
  • The male averages 10.8 kg (23.8 lb) in weight while the females weigh up to 9.66 kg (21.3 lb) on average.
  • The average height of the males is 557 mm (1.83 ft) whereas the female averages 552 mm (1.81 ft) in height.
  • It is an arboreal species and its long arms help the monkey to move through the trees. Beside the long arms the black spider monkey is unique in its hook-like hands. The fingers are long which allows the animal to swing over branches.
  • It is one of the rare species (in primates) which does not have any external thumb.
  • The additional trait in some New World monkeys is their long prehensile tail with the help of which the monkey maintains its balance and it doesn’t need to use its hands.
Black Spider Monkey Facts
Black Spider Monkey Photo Credit: www.welshmountainzoo.org

Black Spider Monkey Behavior

  • The black spider monkey spiders are frugivores and they are apt to form social organizations.
  • The social system form by the black spider monkey is known as the ‘fission-fusion social system’. They establish large community groups in which each one of them associates with the other. Mostly it happens that the individuals belonging to the large groups go into the small groups primarily because these small groups are led by dominant females.
  • It forages in small temporary groups and the traveling continues for most part of the day.
  • The sub-groups which individuals form within the community are not permanent as they keep on shifting their partners throughout the day. The subgroup does not consist of more than three individuals; usually a female, adult male, and a young monkey.
  • The groups can be as large as consisting of 15 – 20 individuals.
  • The black spider monkey rarely fights in groups. When two groups are confronted, the dominant males show territorial behavior but without a physical contact. Each one of them calls a loud and barks. These ‘long-calls’ can be heard at a distance of 800 to 1000 m (.497 to .621 mi).
  • The black spider monkeys are known to form small groups when the food is scarce so that each individual gets a chance to feed on a fruit tree.
  • It is known to cover the upper layers of the rainforest and forage in the high canopy.

Black Spider Monkey Distribution

  • The black spider monkey is seen all across the eastern South America, Guyana, Brazil, French Guiana, and probably in Venezuela.
  • In Brazil, it is found in the northeastern part, east of the Rio Branco and north of Amazon River.
  • The black spider monkeys are known to live in the eastern tip of Venezuela.

Black Spider Monkey Habitat

  • Black spider monkeys fancy living in the moist tropical evergreen forests. These forests must be undisturbed.
  • It is mainly found in large numbers in high rainforests because these rainforests are not disturbed by occasional flooding of rivers. The black spider monkey also makes home in high mountain savanna forest along with the marsh forests and rarely in swamp.
  • Guyana receives reasonable annual rainfall with the daily temperature averages 25.7°C (78.3°F). In Guyana December and January are the coldest months of the year. However in Guyana the black spider monkey doesn’t make homes in woodlands or in swamp but it lives in the lowland evergreen rainforests. It is exclusively restricted to the interior of the country.

spider monkeyBlack Spider Monkey Diet

  • Black spider monkeys forage in the high canopy from 25 to 30 m. They are predominantly frugivores but also consume leaves, insects, and flowers.
  • They play a very important role in the rainforest ecosystem.
  • Their diet also consists of roots, bulbs, bark and decaying wood, flowers, leaves and honey. The amount of food intake depends on the seasons. During rainfall fruits are abundant and thus they consume fruits in this season. The beginning of June to the end of September receives little or no rainfall and so the animal must rely on foods other than fruits. From February to June the fruits are plentiful as a result of which 85% of the diet is composed of ripe fruits.

Black Spider Monkey Reproductive Biology

  • The breeding period ranges from November to February.
  • The gestation (development) period lasts 226 to 232 days (7.5 months). There is a four-year interval in between births.
  • The young monkey stays with its mother until it is about six months of age.
  • The maximum lifespan of the black spider monkey is 33 years in captivity.

Black Spider Monkey Conservation Status

The total population of black spider monkey is unknown but the population trend is on the decreasing side. IUCN has listed these species as Least Concern.

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