- spider monkey
any of several tropical American monkeys of the genus Ateles, having a slender body, long, slender limbs, and a long, prehensile tail: some are endangered.[1755-65]
* * *Any of four species (family Cebidae) of diurnal, arboreal New World monkeys found from Mexico to Brazil.Long-limbed and somewhat potbellied, they are 14–26 in. (35–66 cm) long and have thumbless hands and a heavily furred, prehensile 24–36-in. (60–92-cm) tail. The coat is gray, reddish, brown, or black. They swing through branches, using their tails and hands, or leap or drop spread-eagled from tree to tree. They eat fruit, nuts, flowers, and buds. They are used in laboratory studies of malaria, to which they are susceptible. Though sometimes kept as pets, adults are likely to throw tantrums and may be dangerous.
* * *▪ primatelarge, extremely agile monkey that lives in forests from southern Mexico to Brazil. In spite of its thumbless hands, this lanky potbellied primate can move swiftly through trees, using its long tail as a fifth limb.Spider monkeys weigh about 6 kg (13.2 pounds) and are 35–66 cm (14–26 inches) long, excluding the heavily furred tail, which is longer than the body. The coat, of variable length and fineness, ranges among the several species from gray to reddish, dark brown, or black. Most have a black face with white eye rings, but some have a flesh-coloured face.The monkeys live in bands numbering up to 35 animals but forage in smaller groups, roaming the highest branches during the day. They feed most intensively early in the day, relishing fruit supplemented by nuts, seeds, buds, flowers, and leaves as well as spiders and bird eggs. They do not normally descend from the trees and will leap or drop spread-eagled from one tree to another. Spider monkeys are dextrous with their tails as well as their hands. They pick up objects with the tail as well as hang from branches by using the tail alone.Spider monkeys that are hunted for food sometimes remove the arrows with their hands and attempt to stem the bleeding. Wary of humans, they will break off tree branches and try to drop them on intruders and bark like terriers when approached. Spider monkeys also produce a variety of other sounds. When separated from their fellows, they call to one another in a whinnying voice like a horse. They are also capable of prolonged screams.Single young are born in seclusion after a gestation period of about 139 days and are dependent on the mother for a year. Time between births ranges from two to five years.Widely hunted for food by local people, spider monkey populations are decreasing owing to logging and land clearing. Spider monkeys are susceptible to malaria and are used in laboratory studies of the disease.Four to eight species of spider monkeys are recognized, depending on the taxonomic criteria used. The woolly spider monkey is of a different genus, but all are primates of the family Cebidae.
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