DistributionRead full entry
Range DescriptionThere are seven recognized subspecies:
The distribution of Ateles geoffroyi geoffroyiis given by Kellogg and Goldman (1944) as the coastal region around San Juan del Norte or Martina Bay, southeastern Nicaragua; probably ranging across the lowlands to the vicinity of Lake Managua and Lake Nicaragua on the Pacific coast. It possibly extends into northern Costa Rica, although the true distribution of this species is unknown. Specimens examined by Kellogg and Goldman (1944) were from Managua, Nicaragua.
Ateles geoffroyi azuerensis is definitely known only from the western (Veraguas) side of the forested mountains of the Azuero peninsula in the vicinity of Ponuga, where it appears to be isolated. Kellogg and Goldman (1944) indicated that it may occur to the west along the Pacific coast to the Burica Peninsula, near the Panama-Costa Rica border. Kellogg and Goldman (1944) tentatively attributed a series of skulls 25 skulls from the collection of Adolph H. Schultz (no skins, but reported to have been light coloured) from Río La Vaca, near Puerto Armmuelles, Burica Peninsula to A. g. azuerensis. Baldwin and Baldwin (1976) found no evidence that spider monkeys ever occurred in the Province of Chiriquí. Konstant et al. (1985) reported that the Azuero Pensinula was widely deforested and that subspecies is likely to be surviving only in western parts.
Ateles geoffroyi frontatus is believed to range through northwestern Costa Rica and extreme western and northern Nicaragua (Kellogg and Goldman 1944). Specimens from Nicaragua examined by Kellogg and Goldman (1944) were from the following localities: Lavala; Peña Blanca; Río Siquia; Río Yoya, a tributary of the Río Princapolca; Tuma and Uluce. Allen (1908, 1910) recorded Ateles geoffroyifrom the east slope of the Nicaraguan highlands, Savala (800 ft), Tuma (1,000 ft), Peña Blanca (high point in low Atlantic coast forests, 1,500 ft) and Uluce (about 1,000 ft), and in the highlands of northern Nicaragua at Matagalpa (2,000 ft).
Ateles geoffroyi grisescens is a subspecies of doubtful validity. Kellogg and Goldman (1944) presumed that it occurred in the valley of the Río Tuyra and probably south-eastward through the Serranía del Sapo of extreme south-eastern Panama and the Cordillera de Baudó of north-western Colombia. Matamoros and Seal (2001) indicate its occurrence in the basin of the lower Río Tuira in Panama and the frontier zone with Colombia. Heltne and Kunkel (1975) indicated Cerro Pirre or Río Tucutí as marking the limits of its range with A. f. rufiventris to the north. Hernández-Camacho and Cooper (1976) indicated that grisescens occurs in Colombia: “…[it] is known only from the vicinity of Juradó very near the Panamanian border on the Pacific coast. It is undoubtedly restricted by the Baudó Mountains to a narrow coastal strip that may extend as far south as Cabo Corrientes.” (p.66). Defler et al. (2003) recorded that there is no recent information regarding its presence or otherwise along the Panamanian border, but that colonists near the northern parts of the Serranía de Baudó region talk of two “types” of Ateles, one in the lowlands (definitely A. fusciceps) and another form above 500–600 m altitude (J. V. Rodríguez-M. unpubl.), the only real suggestion that this taxon might actually be present in Colombia. A. fusciceps in the central part of the Sierra de Baudó would indicate that the occurrence of grisescens therefore would be limited to the portion immediately abutting Panama, and not the entire mountain range (Defler et al. 2003).
Ateles geoffroyi ornatus is found in forested regions of Panama, east of the Canal Zone (Cordillera San Blas), and west through Chiriquí to central western Costa Rica. Heltne and Kunkel (1975) give the following localities as marking the eastern limit of its range: San Juan, Cerro Brujo, Cerro Azul and Río Pequeñi—all on or within the boundary line of the Madden Lake watershed, and nowhere more than 30 miles east of the Panama Canal. The Río Bayano basin just to the east is occupied by A. fusciceps rufiventris (see Handley 1966; Heltne and Kunkel 1975). This is the spider monkey of the Osa Peninsula, Corcovado National Park and Carara Biological Reserve in Costa Rica (Matamoros and Seal 2001). The population on the Island of Barro Colorado is introduced (Carpenter 1935; J. F. Eisenberg pers. comm. in Konstant et al. 1985). Crockett et al. (1997; see also Cody 1994; Querol et al. 1996) observed spider monkeys in the Refugio Bartola / Reserva Indio-Maíz (300,000 ha), along the Río Bartola, north of the Río San Juan along the frontier with Costa Rica. They were unable to identify the subspecies but said that, unlike A. g. geoffroyi, they were “distinctly reddish on the back and on the top of the tail; the ends of the limbs were dark” (p.73).
Ateles geoffroyi vellerosus occurs in the forests of Veracruz and eastern San Luis Potosí and south-eastward through Tabasco, across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in eastern Oaxaca, including the highlands of Guatemala (thought by Kellogg and Goldman  to have been occupied by A. g. pan, here considered a synonym) through El Salvador and Honduras, including the north coast to the lowlands of the Mosquitia in the Department of Gracias a Dios.
Ateles geoffroyi yucatanensis occurs in the forests of the Yucatán peninsula, north-eastern Guatemala, and adjoining parts of Belize, intergrading to the south in Mexico (Campeche) and Guatemela with vellerosus. Parra Lara and Jorgenson (1998) reported on a survey of 36 localities in the state of Quintana Roo. They confirmed the presence of spider monkeys in 11 of them, and received reports of their occurrence in a further 19, extending from the Ejido Tres Garantias in the south to locations way in the north, near Cancún, at Cenote Notnozot. Ramos-Fernández and Ayala-Orozco (2003) have studied the population size and habitat use of A. g. yucatanensis around the Punta Laguna, Quintana Roo.