The Robinson Library >> Science >> Zoology >> Mammals >> Order Primates
Central American Spider Monkey

Ateles geoffroyi [ah tell' Ez jef' roy I] (aka Black-Handed Spider Monkey)

Central American Spider Monkey


Like other spider monkeys, the Central American spider monkey has extremely long limbs and tail with respect to overall body length, which ranges from 30 to 60 inches. The upper fur is black, brown or reddish, the face is often marked with a pale mask of unpigmented skin around the eyes and muzzle, the arms and feet are dark, and the underparts white, pale brown, reddish or buff.

Distribution and Habitat

The Central American spider monkey is found along both coasts of Mexico, from Tamaulipas in the northeast and Jalisco in the southwest, and into northwestern Colombia. It lives in mature rain forest and montane forest.


Breeding takes place year-round, with females giving birth to one offspring every two to four years. Females reach sexual maturity at about four years, males at about five years.

Habits and Behaviors

Central American spider monkeys are quite social and generally associate in troops numbering from 30 to 100 individuals. The larger troops usually split into smaller subgroups to forage, however, coming together into large troops only for a few weeks out of the year. Group size tends to vary with habitat type and the availability of food.

Spider monkeys are almost completely arboreal, spending most of their lives in the top of the tree canopy. Among the most agile of the primates, they walk along the upper surfaces of branches as easily as most humans walk along an even sidewalk and are able to pick things up with their tails.

Most feeding takes place during the early morning, with the remainder of the day "devoted" to rest.


The diet consists primarily of ripe fruit, complemented by leaves and flowers, along with some nuts, seeds, insects, arachnids, and eggs.

Scientific Classification

Phylum Chordata
Subphylum Vertebrata
Class Mammalia
Order Primates
Family Cebidae
Subfamily Atelinae
Genus and Species Ateles geoffroyi

Animal Diversity Web

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The Robinson Library >> Science >> Zoology >> Mammals >> Order Primates

This page was last updated on June 15, 2017.