The spider monkey, the most endangered primate in South America

In critically endangered. This lists the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the species of spider monkeys, Ateles hybridus, whose species is localized mainly in Colombia and Venezuela.

The spider monkey, also called Coata, is the name given to the monkeys of the genus Ateles, characterized by long limbs and extraordinary agility. Its brain is big and has some resemblance to the Old World higher apes.

The body is covered by a yellowish-gray fur, black, brown or brown, which is lighter in the lower parts and the eyes are surrounded by a white ring that gives them a distinctive look.

In the rainforests of South America home to four species of spider monkeys, all belonging to the genus Ateles. These monkeys are perhaps the most popular in South America. The special morphology and moving so dramatically between the branches, have always struck by the general public.

Its adaptation to the tree is perfect, its huge arms and legs ensure them always get to the farthest branch and its prehensile tail becomes a true fifth hand that allows them to travel through the treetops with unusual speed and precision.

Depending on the species, the body measures from 35-75 cm in length, and the prehensile tail of 60-92 cm. They are thinner than other apes and weigh 6 to 10 kg. They have four fingers and have no thumb. The hair is thick, the color of the different species varies from light brown to black. Females are particularly characteristic as a large clitoris.

They live in medium-sized groups generally composed of species of both sexes, although we can also find small associations of males of different ages who live independent from the main group.

Like many primates, spider monkeys do not have a proper mating season, but matings occur throughout the year.

Females choose a mate from the group. Both smell the partner’s genitals before intercourse. Gestation lasts from 226-232 days after which a baby is born, that during the first 4 months of life is next to the mother and then return quite often at her side, little by little gaining independence. A new calf is seen every 3 years. Sexual maturity reaches 4 or 5 years. They can live up to 20 years.

They are not appropriate pets. Spider monkeys need specialized care and can become extremely aggressive when they reach sexual maturity.

The main threats to the spider monkeys are deforestation, hunting and pet trade. Their slow reproductive rates and specialized diet make them extremely vulnerable to human activities.

Gustavo Carrasquel | 24 ANCA

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About ANCA24canada

Environmental, Ecologists and Conservationist news from the Americas
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