White-cheeked Spider Monkey

Kingdom Order Family Genus Species
Animalia Primates Atelidae Ateles Ateles marginatus
IUCN Status: Endangered
  • Common Name: White-cheeked Spider Monkey
  • Taxonomy Classification Year: 1809
  • Monkey Size: 34 to 51 cm (13 to 20 in)
  • Skin Color(s): Dark brown or black
  • Habitat: Rainforest
  • Diet: Herbivorous
  • Native Countries: Brazil

White-cheeked Spider Monkey Distribution

White-cheeked Spider Monkey Characteristics

The white-cheeked spider monkey[1] (Ateles marginatus), also known as the white-whiskered spider monkey, is a New World Monkey native to the Amazon Basin of central Brazil.

  • Its range is limited by the Xingu River, the Teles Pires River, the Tapajós River, and the Amazon River.
  • They live in the highly biodiverse lush lowland rainforests for which the region is known. White-cheeked spider monkeys are primarily black or dark brown, with white fur on their chins, foreheads, and, as their name suggests, cheeks.
  • Like all spider monkeys, they have incredibly long legs, arms, and a prehensile tail that helps them swing gently from branches.
  • Spider monkey tails have more vertebrae than non-prehensile tails of other primates, and the vertebrae are smaller.
  • As a result, the tail is more flexible and extends more than other primates’ tails.
  • To help them keep their balance, the underside of their tail is furless and textured like a fingerprint; in fact, their tails are so helpful that they are often called the “fifth limb” or “third hand” of monkeys.
  • Unlike most other primates, they do not have an external thumb but instead use their hands as hooks.
  • This is actually a peculiar adaptation to their arboreal lifestyle: their ancestors had opposable thumbs, but spider monkeys evolved so that their thumb bones tapered, so they were not visible from the outside.
  • Like other spider monkeys, white-cheeked spider monkeys do not exhibit much sexual dimorphism.

White-Cheeked Spider Monkey Facts

  • White-cheeked spider monkeys are diurnal and exclusively arboreal. Consequently, they spend most of their lives in the upper levels of the canopy.
  • These spider monkeys are known to be suspensive, meaning they spend most of their time hanging from branches.
  • White-cheeked spider monkeys live in large groups with an average size of 25 individuals.
  • They fend off predators by barking and shaking near branches. If the predator is not frightened by this, it breaks off and throws small branches at it.
  • They are considered polygamous, with males mating with multiple females but females mating with only one male.

Suggested Reading: Different Breeds of Monkeys

Cite This Page

BioExplorer.net. (2023, October 01). White-cheeked Spider Monkey. Bio Explorer. https://www.bioexplorer.net/animals/mammals/monkeys/white-cheeked-spider-monkey/.
BioExplorer.net. "White-cheeked Spider Monkey" Bio Explorer, 01 October 2023, https://www.bioexplorer.net/animals/mammals/monkeys/white-cheeked-spider-monkey/.
BioExplorer.net. "White-cheeked Spider Monkey" Bio Explorer, October 01 2023. https://www.bioexplorer.net/animals/mammals/monkeys/white-cheeked-spider-monkey/.
Key References
  • [1]“ADW: Ateles marginatus: CLASSIFICATION”. Accessed December 21, 2022. Link.


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