Black-Faced Spider Monkey

By Marla Lise

Black-Faced Spider Monkey in Bolivia. Photo by Marla Lise.

Black-Faced Spider Monkey

Scientific Name: Ateles chamek

Spider monkeys range from Mexico to Bolivia. There are 9 species and they are one of the largest and smartest of the new world monkeys. Their long arms and long tails give rise to their name.

Black-Faced Spider Monkey in Bolivia. Photo by Marla Lise.

Spider monkeys use their arms and long tails, which can be almost a meter long, to help them move easily through the upper layers of the rainforest to look for food in the trees. They feed on fruits, flowers, berries and other plant material, however will also occasionally eat small mammals. They have been known to eat small birds, frogs, insects and grubs.

Spider monkeys, unlike most of the other monkey species, lack an obvious thumb. They also live groups, known as bands, of 20-30 individuals, usually led by an alpha female.

The Black-Faced or Peruvian spider monkeys are found in Peru, as well as Brazil and Bolivia. They are one of the primary seed dispersers in this region due to the amount that they eat and the huge distances that they travel. By dispersing the seeds of the fruits that they eat, they help to maintain forest areas. Therefore, more monkeys mean more trees and healthier forests. Healthier forests mean more habitat for animals.

Spider monkeys are a highly threatened species, with 3 species listed as critically endangered, 5 as endangered and 1 listed as vulnerable. The Black-Faced Spider Monkey was listed as a least concern species in 1996 and 2003 and then quickly rose up to an endangered listing by 2008.

Spider monkeys are highly threatened by deforestation, as their forests homes are being cut down to make way for agriculture and farmland as well as for mining sites. They are also sometimes hunted illegally for food and for sale in the illegal pet trade. Spider monkeys are also susceptible to malaria, a disease transmitted by mosquitoes and usually introduced by humans. Spider monkeys need our help in protecting their rainforest habitat.

Animal profiles

Bare-Faced Ibis
Blue and Gold Macaw
Common Potoo
Green Honeycreeper
Grey Winged Trumpeter
Harpy Eagle
Horned Screamer
Jabiru Stork
Malachite Kingfisher
Mealy Parrot
Northern Cassowary
Savanna hawk
Scale-crested pygmy-tyrant
Rhinoceros Hornbill
Scarlet Ibis
Wattled Jacana

Asian black bear
Black-and-white ruffed lemur
Black-faced spider monkey
Bornean Rhino
Brown capuchin monkey
Capybara [2nd profile]
Coquerel's Sifaka
Crowned Lemur
Eastern Long Beaked Echidna
Howler Monkey
Malagasy Giant Jumping Rat
Malayan Tapir
Mountain Gorilla
Plains Zebra not a rainforest species
South American tapir
South American coatimundi
Spectral Tarsier
Spider Monkey
Squirrel Monkeys
White-lipped peccary
Woolly Monkey

Green Basilisk
Leatherback Sea Turtle not a rainforest species
Pygmy stump-tailed chameleon
Spectacled Caiman

Giant Chinese Salamander
Gladiator Tree Frog
Green Poison Arrow Frog
Indian Purple Frog
Monkey Frog
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