Ateles fusciceps, the Brown-headed Spider Monkey, can be found from Central America to northern South America (Primate Gallery 2000).
Ateles fusciceps fusciceps is endemic to Ecuador, in the north, west of the Andes, in the Province of Esmeraldas, and, at least historically it would seem, south as far the Cordillera de Colonche (Tirira 2007). There are two populations remaining: one in the Chongon Colonche Mountain Range and the another in the Cotacachi-Cayapas Reserve and surrounding forests in the north. Hernández-Camacho and Cooper (1976) suggested that A. f. fusciceps might occur in southern Colombia, south of the Río Mira, continuous with the populations in Ecuador, but no evidence has been forthcoming regarding this.
Ateles fusciceps rufiventris ranges from the western cordillera of the Andes from south-western Colombia, northward on west side of the Río Cauca to eastern Panama (Cerro Pirre and the basin of the Río Bayano of the Pacific coast) (Rylands et al. 2006). The Cerro Pirre or the Río Tucutí mark the border with A. geoffroyi grisescens. In Colombia, A. f. rufiventris occurs throughout the Pacific lowlands except for Juradó, norh-western part of the Department of Chocó, supposedly the domain of A. g. grisescens (Hernández-Camacho and Cooper 1976; Defler, 2003, 2004). It occurs in the Urabá region in north-western Antioquia, Córdoba, Sucre, and northern Bolívar east to the lower Río Cauca along the western bank to south-central Antioquia. The most southerly record in Colombia is Barabacoas, Department of Nariño, and the most northerly is southern bank of the Canal del Dique, Cartagena. Hernández-Camacho and Cooper (1976) believed that it formerly occurred as far north as Pendales.
Ateles f. rufiventris does not occur in Ecuador and is discontinuous with A. f. fusciceps. Furthermore, this subspecies range in Colombia is likely fragmented in the southern part of its range. There are only two known locations in the Chocó region.
Brown-headed Spider Monkeys have long, narrow limbs and a prehensile tail that is used as a fifth limb to swing between branches as they forage for food. Their tail is much longer in length than their body. The tail measures 70 to 85 cm (28 to 34 in.) while the body ranges from 40 to 55 cm (16 to 22 in.). The average weight for both the male and female is approximately 9 kg (20 lbs.). Brown-headed Spider Monkeys can be separated into two subspecies. The subspecies A. f. fusciceps has a brownish-black body with a brown head. A. f. robustus is completely black except for a few white strands of hair on the chin. Their coat is long and shaggy, usually with a lighter underside. A white ring surrounds each eye. Their skull is structured so that they have forward facing eyes which allow them to precisely gauge distances as they swing from tree to tree. The hands and feet of A. fusciceps are adapted for climbing. Brown-headed Spider Monkey species lacks a thumb, which increases the strength of their grip and helps with climbing (Sleeper 1997; Napier 1985).
Range mass: 0 to 0 kg.
Average mass: 9 kg.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry
Chocó-Darién Moist Forests Habitat
This taxon can be found in the Chocó-Darién moist forests ecoregion, one of the most species rich lowland areas on Earth, with exceptional abundance and endemism over a broad range of taxa including plants, birds, amphibians and arthropods. The biological distinctiveness is exceptional, with considerable biodiversity.
There are three principal geomorphologic types in the ecoregion: alluvial plains of recent origin, low mountains formed by the relatively recent dissection of sediments from the Tertiary and Pleistocene periods, and the complexes in mountain areas consisting of mesozoic rocks. The high precipitation and the topography mean that the ecoregion includes a complex of great hydrographic basins, the most important being those of the Atrato, Baudó, and San Juan Rivers and the Micay and Patía Rivers in the south. The force of the water in many of these rivers form deep gorges cutting through the mountains, creating spectacular rapids and waterfalls in the mountains. At lower elevations, large rivers become very wide and with many meanders. Given the high precipitation in the region, it is not surprising that the soils are severely leached and poor in nutrients. Most of the ecoregion has typical laterite soils with reddish clay, although the soils are younger and less leached in some areas, especially close to the base of the Andes and in the floodplains of the major rivers. Of particular botanical interest are the white clay soils in the region of Bajo Calima in Colombia, which are associated with the gigantic sclerophyllous leafed and unusually large fruited vegetation.
Depending on the altitudinal gradient, soil water content and the effect of the sea, there are various types of vegetation that make up the ecoregion. In broad terms, in the northern part of the ecoregion, the lowland rainforests correlate to the Brosimun utilis alliance, including communities dominated by the deciduous Cuipo tree (Cavanillesia platanifolia), the Espavé wild cashew (Anacardium excelsum), the Panamanian rubber tree (Castilla elastica), Brosimum guianense, Bombacopsis spp., Ceiba pentandra, Dipteryx panamensis, and others. In the undergrowth Mabea occidentalis, Clidemia spp., Conostegia spp. and Miconia spp. are abundant. In zones that are occasionally flooded, the Cativo (Prioria copaifera) flourishes as well. In the southern part of the ecoregion, these rainforests have multiple strata, with two layers of trees, lianas, and epiphytes with vigorous growth rates. The number of deciduous plants increases in the north and south, where there is a dry season, particularly near the coast. The forests at higher altitudes, starting at 600 meters, have communities with the following species: Guamos (Inga spp.), Billia columbiana, Brosimum sp., Sorocea spp., Jacaranda hesperia, Pourouma chocoana, Guatteria ferruginea, Cecropia spp., Elaegia utilis, and Brunellia spp.
There are at least 127 species of amphibians in the Choco-Darien, including the following endemic anuran species: Isla Bonita robber frog (Craugastor crassidigitus); Kokoe poison frog (Phyllobates aurotaenia NT), found on western slopes of the Cordillera Occidental , along the Rao San Juan drainage south to the Rao Raposo; Golden poison frog (Phyllobates terribilis EN); La Brea poison frog (Oophaga occultator); Andagoya robber frog (Pristimantis roseus); Antioquia beaked toad (Rhinella tenrec); Atrato glass frog (Hyalinobatrachium aureoguttatum); Blue-bellied poison arrow frog (Ranitomeya minuta); Colombian egg frog (Ctenophryne minor), known only to the in the upper Rao Saija drainage; Condoto stubfoot toad (Atelopus spurrelli VU); Flecked leaf frog (Phyllomedusa psilopygion); LeDanubio robber frog (Strabomantis zygodactylus). An endemic salamander present in the Choco-Darien is the Finca Chibigui salamander (Bolitoglossa medemi VU).
Some other non-endemic anurans found here are: Anatipes robber frog (Strabomantis anatipes); Banded horned treefrog (Hemiphractus fasciatus); Black-legged poison frog (Phyllobates bicolor NT); Horned marsupial frog (Gastrotheca cornuta EN), known for having the largest amphibian eggs in the world; El Tambo stubfoot toad (Atelopus longibrachius EN); Elegant stubfoot toad (Atelopus elegans CR). Endemic caecilians in the ecoregion include the Andagoya caecilian (Caecilia perdita).
There are a number of reptilian taxa within the ecoregion, including: Adorned graceful brown snake (Rhadinaea decorata); the endemic Black centipede snake (Tantilla nigra); Boulenger's least gecko (Sphaerodactylus scapularis VU); the endemic Iridescent ground snake (Atractus iridescens); the endemic Cauca coral snake (Micrurus multiscutatus); the endemic Colombian coral snake (Micrurus spurelli); the endemic Dark ground snake (Atractus melas); the endemic Colombian mud turtle (Atractus melas VU); and the endemic Echternacht's ameiva (Ameiva anomala).
There are 577 species of birds recorded; Tyrannidae is listed as the most diverse avian family, presenting 28 genera and 60 species within the ecoregion. The Choco-Daroemis is a center of avian endemism of the Neotropics; moreover, according to Stattersfield, this ecoregion spans two Endemic Bird Areas, one in Central America and one in South America.
Between these two Endemic Bird Areas there are over sixty restricted range species, including the Chocó tinamou (Crypturellus kerriae VU), Chestnut-mantled Oropendola (Psarocolius cassini EN), Viridian dacnis (Dacnis viguieri), Crested ant-tanager (Habia cristata), Lita woodpecker (Piculus litea), and Plumbeous forest-falcon (Micrastur plumbeus EN). Also to be noted is the presence of the Harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja), the Black and white crowned eagle (Spizastur melanoleucus), taxa increasingly rare in many areas of the Neotropics, and possibly the Speckled antshrike (Xenornis setifrons EN) although one has not been recorded in Colombia since the 1940s.
The region is rich in mammalian taxa, but the larger animals have received inadequate research. These include the Bush dog (Speothos venaticus NT); Chocó tamarin (Saguinus geoffroyi EN), the Baird's Tapir (Tapirus bairdii EN), the Giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla VU), the Brown-headed spider monkey (Ateles fuscipens CR), the Puma (Puma concolor VU), the Ocelot (Leopardus pardalis LC), and the jaguar (Panthera onca NT).
Brown-headed Spider Monkeys are found in the rainforests of Central and South America. The majority of their time is spent in the uppermost branches of trees, foraging for food. Most climates allow them to live year-round in the same area. However, in drier habitats, they must travel up 18 km (10 mi.) each day in search of food(Microsoft Encarta 2000).
Terrestrial Biomes: rainforest
Habitat and Ecology
Spider monkeys travel and forage in the upper levels of the forest. They spend much time in the canopy and also use the middle and lower strata but are rarely seen in the understorey. In accordance with their use of the highest levels of the forest, they are highly suspensory. When travelling they spend more time hanging from branches, moving by brachiation and arm swinging, and climbing than they do walking or running on all fours. They are highly frugivorous and feed largely on the mature, soft parts of a very wide variety of fruits, which comprise 83% of their diet and are found mainly in the emergent trees and upper part of the forest canopy (Van Roosmalen and Klein 1988). They also eat young leaves and flowers (both especially at times of fruit shortage during the beginning of the dry season), and besides such as young seeds, floral buds, pseudobulbs, aerial roots, bark, decaying wood, and honey, and very occasionally small insects such as termites and caterpillars. They play a significant role as seed dispersers. Van Roosmalen (1985; Van Roosmalen and Klein 1988) found that A. paniscus was dispersing the seeds of at least 138 species (93.5% of all fruits species used) through their ingestion and subsequent defecation (endozoochory). A further 10 species were being dispersed by the monkeys carrying them off some distance from the tree before dropping them (exozoochory). In only 23 species were the seeds being ruined or eaten (seed predation).
Spider monkeys live in groups of up to 20-30 individuals (for review see Van Roosmalen and Klein 1988). However, they are very rarely all seen together, and nearly always to be found travelling, feeding and resting small in groups of varying size and composition (most usually 2-4), the only persistent association being that of a mother and her offspring (McFarland Symington 1990). Group members will also travel on their own. Each female in the group has a “core area” of the group’s home range which she uses most. Klein and Klein (1976, 1977) estimated 259-388 ha ranges with 20-30% overlap for A. belzebuth in La Macarena National Park, Colombia. Ateles are rarely seen in association with other primates and mostly they are occasional and ephemeral, resulting from the simultaneous occupation of fruiting trees.
Six estimated birth dates given by Klein (1971) for A. belzebuth, were spread throughout the year (December, January, April, September, October and November). Spider monkeys apparently reach sexual maturity at 4-5 years of age (Klein 1971; Eisenberg 1973, 1976). They give birth to single offspring after a long gestation period of 226-232 days, with a minimum theoretical interbirth interval in captivity of 17.5 months, but in the wild probably as long as 28-30 months (Eisenberg 1973, 1976). Late maturation and long inter-birth intervals make it difficult for them to recover from hunting and other threats.
Brown-headed Spider Monkeys prefer ripe fruits and leaves, but will eat nuts, seeds, insects, and sometimes eggs. The climate of the rainforests in which they live ensures an abundant supply of food year-round, allowing them to be able to reside in the same area throughout the year (MacDonald 1999; Microsoft Encarta 2000).
Animal Foods: eggs; insects
Plant Foods: leaves; seeds, grains, and nuts; fruit
Primary Diet: herbivore (Folivore , Frugivore )
Life History and Behavior
Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical
Status: captivity: 24.0 years.
Status: captivity: 21.5 years.
Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
Brown-headed spider monkeys indicate that they are prepared to mate through changes in behavior, scents, and visual signals. The estrous cycle is 26 days and females will usually associate with a male for up to three days, with mating lasting between 5 to 10 minutes.
Female Brown-headed Spider Monkeys reach sexual maturity at 51 months. Usually a single offspring is produced and, once born, the young will be cared for only by the mother until weaned at 20 months. On average, Brown-headed Spider Monkeys have a life span of 24 years. (Fleagle 1998; Microsoft Encarta 2000; Sleeper 1997).
Average number of offspring: 1.
Range weaning age: 20 (high) months.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 51 months.
Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; viviparous
Average birth mass: 400 g.
Average gestation period: 227 days.
Average number of offspring: 1.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
Sex: male: 1826 days.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
Sex: female: 1515 days.
Only the female cares for her young, until it is weaned at 20 months. Male brown-headed spider monkeys live in their natal groups for their entire life. Females will disperse at adolescence.
Parental Investment: pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); post-independence association with parents
One of the main reasons Brown-headed Spider Monkeys are declining in numbers is due to deforestation of their habitat. Some of the monkeys are able to survive in areas that have been partially logged, but few can live where rainforests have been completely removed.(Microsoft Encarta 2000).
US Federal List: no special status
CITES: appendix ii
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: critically endangered
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
There is no population information available for Ateles fusciceps rufiventris.
Tirira (2001) has reported an 80% reduction in population size based on habitat loss. This species has a very small distribution, is highly fragmented, and is under pressure from a high rate of habitat loss due to deforestation and strong hunting pressure.
Ateles fusciceps rufiventris
In Colombia, Defler et al. (2003) all spider monkeys are considered threatened due to hunting and habitat loss and fragmentation. National Parks such as Katios and Orquideas are believed to have very few spider monkeys because of indigenous hunting pressure (N. Vargas pers. comm.; H. Rubio pers. comm.) and the population density of Ateles may be decreasing in Los Katios (Director del Parque Los Katios, D. Pintor pers. comm.). Widespread censuses of Ateles are needed, especially in national parks.
In Colombia, along the Atlantic coast, it has been estimated that over 30% of habitat has been lost in the past 10 years based on calculations from satellite photos (Miller et al, 2004). Ground truthing of this data found only 2.5% of viable secondary forest habitat was left in this region (Miller et al. 2004). In Panama, there is a lower human population and likely higher habitat availability, but more research is needed to determine population status and threats to this subspecies.
Tirira (2001) proposes the following measures:
Research on its range and the size and status of remaining populations;
Evaluation of the effectivness of the protected areas where it occurs;
Research on its ability to cope with deforestation and forest fragmentation, and proximity to humans and their activities;
Research on the extent of illegal hunting by colonists and Indigenous people;
Evaluate the needs and possibilities for increasing the size of the current protected areas and providing for more protected areas where it occurs;
Carry out education awareness campaigns and environmental education programs in its range - emphasizing particularly aspects of the traffic in, and commercialization of, primates; and
Ex situ breeding programme, and associated research needed for such (e.g., husbandry, reproduction) .
The subspecies are recorded from the following protected areas:
Ateles fusciceps fusciceps
Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve (243,638 ha) (Tirira 2007)
Los Cedros Protected Forest (Tirira 2007)
Awá Ethnological Reserve (Tirira 2007)
Ateles fusciceps rufiventris
Los Katios Natural National Park (72,000 ha)
Las Orquideas Natural National Park (32,000 ha)
It is listed on Appendix II of CITES.
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
There are no negative effects of Brown-headed Spider Monkeys.
In some areas Brown-headed Spider Monkeys may be hunted for food.
Black-headed spider monkey
The black-headed spider monkey, Ateles fusciceps, is a species of spider monkey, a type of New World monkey, from Central and South America. It is found in Colombia, Nicaragua and Panama. Although primatologists such as Colin Groves (1989) follow Kellogg and Goldman (1944) in treating A. fusciceps as a separate species, other authors, including Froelich (1991), Collins and Dubach (2001) and Nieves (2005) treat it as a subspecies of Geoffroy's spider monkey.
The two subspecies are:
- Ateles fusciceps fusciceps - northwestern Ecuador.
- Ateles fusciceps rufiventris - southwest Colombia to eastern Panama.
A. f. fusciceps lives in tropical and subtropical humid forests between 100 and 1,700 metres (330 and 5,580 ft) above sea level. It lives in population densities of 1.2 monkeys per square kilometer. A. f. rufiventris lives in dry forests, humid forests and cloud forests, and can live up to 2,000 to 2,500 metres (6,600 to 8,200 ft) above sea level.
A. f. fusciceps has a black or brown body and a brown head. A. f. rufiventris is entirely black with some white on its chin. The black-headed spider monkey is one of the larger New World monkeys. The head and body length, excluding tail, typically ranges between 39.3 and 53.8 cm (15.5 and 21.2 in). The prehensile tail is between 71.0 and 85.5 cm (28.0 and 33.7 in). On average, males weigh 8.89 kilograms (19.6 lb) and females weigh 8.8 kilograms (19 lb). The brain weighs 114.7 g (4.05 oz).
The black-headed spider monkey is arboreal and diurnal. It moves by climbing and brachiation. When mating, females may consort with a male for up to three days, or else mate with several males. Mating occurs with the male and female face to face, and can last for five to 10 minutes. The gestation period is between 226 and 232 days. The infant rides on its mother's back for 16 weeks, and is weaned at 20 months. Females attain sexual maturity at 51 months; males at 56 months. Females give birth every three years.
The black-headed spider monkey is considered to be critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to an estimated population loss of more than 80% over 45 years, from hunting and human encroachment on its range of habitation.
Captive black-headed spider monkeys have been known to live more than 24 years.
|Wikispecies has information related to: Black-headed Spider Monkey|
- Groves, C. P. (2005). Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M, eds. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 150. OCLC 62265494. ISBN 0-801-88221-4.
- Cuarón, A.D., Shedden, A., Rodríguez-Luna, E., de Grammont, P.C. & Link, A. (2008). "Ateles fusciceps". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 19 January 2012.
- Collins, A. (2008). "The taxonomic status of spider monkeys in the twenty-first century". In Campbell, C. Spider Monkeys. Cambridge University Press. p. 67. ISBN 978-0-521-86750-4.
- Rowe, N. (1996). The Pictorial Guide to the Living Primates. Pogonias Press. p. 113. ISBN 0-9648825-0-7.
- Chapman, C. & Chapman, L. (1990). "Reproductive Biology of Captive and Free-ranging Spider Monkeys". Zoo Biology 9: 6. doi:10.1002/zoo.1430090102.
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