Black-handed Spider Monkey (Ateles geoffroyi)


MORPHOLOGY:
The black-handed spider monkey has a prehensile tail which it uses for grasping when feeding and when moving through the forest. Male black-handed spider monkeys lack a baculum, which is unusual for most primates (Dixson, 1987). This is a sexually monomorphic species. The black-handed spider monkey has long and slender limbs especially the forelimbs which are used in suspensory locomotion (Fleagle, 1988). This species lacks a pollex.

RANGE:
This species is found in more wet than dry forests and is also found in evergreen tropical rainforests (Hershkovitz, 1977). This species prefers to live in the upper levels of the canopy (Fleagle, 1988). The black-handed spider monkey is found in the countries of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama.
Black-handed Spider Monkey


Black-handed Spider Monkey ECOLOGY:
The black-handed spider monkey is a frugivorous species, which tends to favor ripe fruits. This species does also eat leaves. The black-handed spider monkey eats leaves in the late morning and late in the day before it would rest (Chapman and Chapman, 1991). This species forages in subgroups of 1-6 individuals, and these groups are of the following types: solitary, all male, all female (with or without infants), and mixed-sex (Kinzey, 1997). Chapman (1990) found that foraging subgroup size correlates positively with resource patch size. The mean group size for this species is about 15 individuals. This species sleeps in a central place in their range, and uses the same sleeping area repeatedly most often (Chapman, 1989).


LOCOMOTION:
The black-handed spider monkey moves through the forest both in a quadrupedal and suspensory fashion (Fleagle, 1988). This species can also walk bipedal along tree branches and have been known to leap between trees and branches (Fleagle, 1988).

SOCIAL BEHAVIOR:
The black-handed spider monkey has a multimale-multifemale social system (Kinzey, 1997). The males are philopatric and the females disperse for this species (Kinzey, 1997).

VOCAL COMMUNICATION:
long call: This call is only emitted by males and may be heard up to 500 meters (Symington, 1987). This call is used to communicate spacing between subgroups, isolation from a subgroup, it is also used as an alarm call (van Roosmalen, 1985). This call also functions to bring members from ones subgroup to a feeding site (Chapman and Lefebvre, 1990).

OLFACTORY COMMUNICATION:

VISUAL COMMUNICATION:
staring open-mouth face: This is where the eyes are opened wide, the mouth is open with the teeth covered by the lips (Jolly, 1972). This occurs when mobbing a predator or serves to communicate an inhibited threat (Jolly, 1972).

staring bared-teeth scream face: This is where the eye are opened wide, the mouth is open with the corners drawn back so that the teeth and gums are revealed (Jolly, 1972). This display occurs with terror flight (Jolly, 1972).

silent bared-teeth face: This is where the eyes are staring at the stimulus, the eye brows are either relaxed or up, and the corners of the mouth are drawn back allowing the teeth to show (Jolly, 1972). This is used to communicate submission or a friendly approach (Jolly, 1972). This display is also seen during attacking (Jolly, 1972).

pout face: This is where the eyes are opened wide and the lips are pushed forward such that the mouth resembles an "O" shape (Jolly, 1972). This occurs with contact calls and also occurs with begging (Jolly, 1972).

relaxed open mouth face: This is where the eyes are normal or narrow and the mouth is open wide with the corners being up (Jolly, 1972). This behavior is seen during play (Jolly, 1972).
Black-handed Spider Monkey


TACTILE COMMUNICATION:
social grooming: This is where one individual grooms another, and this serves to reinforce the social bonds between the individuals.

REPRODUCTION:
The black-handed spider monkey gives birth to a single offspring in a season. The young are only cared for by the mother (Fleagle, 1988). This species copulates in the ventro-ventral position which is rare among primates.

REFERENCES:
Burton, F. 1995. The Multimedia Guide to the Non-human Primates. Prentice-Hall Canada Inc.

Chapman, C.A. 1989. Spider Monkey Sleeping Sites: Use and Availability. American Journal of Primatology. Vol.18, 53-60.

Chapman, C.A. 1990. Ecological Constraints on Group Size in Three Species of Neotropical Primates. Folia Primatologica. Vol. 55, 1-9.

Chapman, C.A. and Chapman, L.J. 1991. The Foraging Intinerary of Spider Monkeys: When to Eat Leaves? Folia Primatologica. Vol. 56, 162-166.

Chapman, C.A. and Lefebvre, L. 1990. Manipulating Foraging Group Size: Spider Monkey Food Calls at Fruiting Trees. Animal Behaviour. Vol. 39, 891-896.

Dixson, A.F. 1987. Baculum Length and Copulatory Behavior in Primates. American Journal of Primatology. Vol. 13, 51-60.

Fleagle, J. G. 1988. Primate Adaptation and Evolution. Academic Press.

Hershkovitz, P. 1977. Living New World Monkeys (Platyrrhini) with an Introduction to Primates, Vol 1. University of Chicago Press.

Jolly, A. 1972. The Evolution of Primate Behavior. Macmillan Publishing Co., N.Y.

Kinzey, W.G. 1997. Ateles. in New World Primates: Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior. ed. Warren G. Kinzey, Aldine de Gruyter, New York.

Symington, M.M. 1987. Long-distance Vocal Communication in Ateles: Functional Hypotheses and Preliminary Evidence. International Journal of Primatology. Vol. 8, 475.

van Roosmalen, M.G.M. 1985. Habitat Preferences, Diet, Feeding Strategy and Social Organization of the Black Spider Monkey (Ateles paniscus paniscus Linnaeus 1758) in Surinam. Acta Amazonica. Vol. 15 (3/4 suppl.), 1-238.

Black-handed Spider Monkey Last Updated: May 12, 2007.
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