Geoffroy's Spider Monkey

Kingdom Order Family Genus Species
Animalia Primates Atelidae Ateles Ateles geoffroyi
Geoffroy's spider monkey
IUCN Status: Endangered
  • Common Name: Central American Spider Monkey
  • Taxonomy Classification Year: 1820
  • Monkey Size: 30 to 63 cm (12 to 25 in)
  • Skin Color(s): Black, brown, or reddish
  • Habitat: Forest, rainforest
  • Diet: Herbivorous
  • Native Countries: Mexico, Costa Rica, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Panama, Nicaragua

Central American Spider Monkey Distribution

Geoffroy’s Spider Monkey Characteristics

Geoffroy's Spider Monkey

Geoffroy’s spider monkey[1] also called the Central American spider monkey or black-handed spider monkey, is a species of spider monkey, a New World species of monkey, native to Central America, parts of Mexico, and perhaps a small part of Colombia.

  • Like other monkeys and great apes, Geoffroy’s spider monkeys have large, opposed toes on their feet that can quickly grab branches.
  • As the name suggests, these monkeys have black hands and feet. Their fur coats vary in color from tan to black or reddish brown.
  • Babies are born black, but their fur lightens in the first five months of life. After that, a small head rests on a flexible body.
  • Their expressive faces are hairless, with unpigmented skin framing the eyes and muzzle in a pale facial mask.

What Do Geoffroy’s Spider Monkeys Eat?

Ateles Geoffroyi

According to the study published[¶], the Geoffroy’s spider monkey feeds on several plant matters, including these prominent sources:

  • Breadnut (Brosimum alicastrum)
  • Strawberrytree (Muntingia calabura)
  • Gumbo Limbo (Bursera simaruba).
  • Cedro Macho (Aralia excelsa).
  • False Chiggergrape (Coccoloba venosa).
  • Icecreambean (Inga edulis)
  • Mango (Mangifera indica)
  • Jagua (Genipa americana)
  • Pachiuba (Socratea exorrhiza)
  • Requia Colorada (Trichilia cipo).
  • Panama Hat Plant (Carludovica palmata).
  • Smooth Manjack (Cordia laevigata).
  • Pumpwood (Cecropia peltata)
  • Malaysian Apple (Syzygium malaccense).
  • Guarumo (Cecropia obtusifolia)
  • Conejo (Protium tenuifolium)
  • Guabo Pachón (Inga goldmanii).
  • Star Apple (Chrysophyllum cainito).
  • Angelica Tree (Dendropanax arboreus).
  • Abas (Psidium guajava)
  • False Coffee (Faramea occidentalis).
  • Panama Tree (Sterculia apetala).
  • Guarumo Amarillo (Cecropia longipes).
  • Amate (Ficus obtusifolia)
  • Hogplum (Spondias mombin)
  • Chirimoya (Annona spraguei)
  • Puerto Rico Silver Palm (Coccothrinax barbadensis).

What Eats Geoffroy’s Spider Monkeys?

Two main predators of this Central American primate are jaguars (Panthera onca) and Cougars (Puma concolor)[§].

Geoffroy’s Spider Monkey Facts

  • The genus name Ateles means “imperfect“, a reference to the vestigial thumb of the monkey.
  • The species name geoffroyi is honored by Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, a French naturalist.
  • Primatologists believe that the enlarged clitoris of female Geoffroy’s spider monkeys helps males decide which female to approach for mating. It allows the male species to gauge a woman’s sexual receptivity.
  • Geoffroy’s spider monkeys’ modes of locomotion include walking, climbing, or crawling along delicate branches, swinging from one branch to another.
  • Often, they rub their fur with a mixture of saliva and crushed linden leaves as a natural insect repellent.

Suggested Reading: All Monkeys

Cite This Page

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BioExplorer.net. (2022, October 02). Geoffroy’s Spider Monkey. Bio Explorer. https://www.bioexplorer.net/animals/mammals/monkeys/geoffroys-spider-monkey/.
BioExplorer.net. "Geoffroy’s Spider Monkey" Bio Explorer, 02 October 2022, https://www.bioexplorer.net/animals/mammals/monkeys/geoffroys-spider-monkey/.
BioExplorer.net. "Geoffroy’s Spider Monkey" Bio Explorer, October 02 2022. https://www.bioexplorer.net/animals/mammals/monkeys/geoffroys-spider-monkey/.
Key References
  • [1]“Habitat Characteristics of Black-handed Spider Monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) at La Suerte Biological Field Station, Costa Rica”. Accessed August 16, 2022. Link.
  • [¶] – Fricke, E.C., Svenning, J. Accelerating homogenization of the global plant-frugivore meta-network. Nature 585, 74-78 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2640-y.
  • [¶] – fgabriel1891/Palm-Frugivore_Interactions_Neo-AfrotropicsZona, S. & Henderson, A. (1989) A review of animal mediated seed dispersal of palms. Selbyana, 11, 6-21. Online Update 2006 ((http://www.virtualherbarium.org/palms/psdispersal.html).
  • [¶] – fgabriel1891/Palm-Frugivore_Interactions_Neo-AfrotropicsWright, S. J.; Duber, H. C.. 2001. Poachers and forest fragmentation alter seed dispersal, seed survival, and seedling recruitment in the palm Attalea butyraceae, with implications for tropical tree diversity. Biotropica. 583-595
  • [¶] – fgabriel1891/Palm-Frugivore_Interactions_Neo-AfrotropicsGonzalez-Zamora, Arturo; Arroyo-Rodriguez, Victor; Chaves, Oscar M.; Sanchez-Lopez, Sonia; Stoner, Kathryn E.; Riba-Hernandez, Pablo. 2009. Diet of Spider Monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) in Mesoamerica: Current Knowledge and Future Directions. American Journal of Primatology. Aug-20
  • [¶] – fgabriel1891/Palm-Frugivore_Interactions_Neo-AfrotropicsRusso, S. E.; Campbell, C. J.; Dew, J. L.; Stevenson, P. R.; Suarez, S. A.. 2005. A multi-forest comparison of dietary preferences and seed dispersal by Ateles spp.. International Journal of Primatology. 1017-1037
  • [¶] – fgabriel1891/Palm-Frugivore_Interactions_Neo-AfrotropicsBeckman, Noelle G.; Muller-Landau, Helene C.. 2007. Differential effects of hunting on pre-dispersal seed predation and primary and secondary seed removal of two neotropical tree species. Biotropica. 328-339
  • [¶] – fgabriel1891/Palm-Frugivore_Interactions_Neo-AfrotropicsSezen, Uzay U.; Chazdon, Robin L.; Holsinger, Kent E.. 2009. Proximity is not a proxy for parentage in an animal-dispersed Neotropical canopy palm. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences. 2037-2044
  • [¶] – fgabriel1891/Palm-Frugivore_Interactions_Neo-AfrotropicsSezen, Uzay U.; Chazdon, Robin L.; Holsinger, Kent E.. 2007. Multigenerational genetic analysis of tropical secondary regeneration in a canopy palm. Ecology. 3065-3075
  • [¶] – fgabriel1891/Palm-Frugivore_Interactions_Neo-AfrotropicsScherbaum, Carmen; Estrada, Alejandro. 2013. Selectivity in feeding preferences and ranging patterns in spider monkeys Ateles geoffroyi yucatanensis of northeastern Yucatan peninsula, Mexico. Current Zoology. 125-134
  • [¶] – fgabriel1891/Plant-Frugivore-Interactions-SouthEastAsiaFleming, T. Breitwisch, Whitesides, G. 1987. Patterns of Tropical Vertebrate Frugivore Diversity. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, Vol. 18.
  • [§] – Middleton, O.S, Svensson, H, Scharlemann, J.P.W, Faurby, S, Sandom, C.J. CarniDIET 1.0: A database of terrestrial carnivorous mammal diets. Global Ecology and Biogeography. https://doi.org/10.1111/geb.13296. Craig, Christie A., Eleanor I. Brassine, and Daniel M. Parker. “A record of cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) diet in the Northern Tuli Game Reserve, Botswana.”�African Journal of Ecology55.4 (2017): 697-700.

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