Black Spider Monkeys
Black spider monkeys, or Ateles fusciceps, are one of the larger of the seven species of spider monkeys in Latin America. They’re also called the Guiana or red-faced spider monkey. They live in tropical rainforests north of the Amazon River, even as far north as Mexico. Black spider monkeys can swing elegantly from tree to tree because of their long arms and prehensile tails they use to grip with. Even though they don’t have thumbs, they can keep an extremely strong grip on branches. Black spider monkeys are social and gather in groups, called troops, of about 24-36. They split into smaller troops of about half a dozen at night and when foraging. Black spider monkeys usually forage the most in the early morning. They spend most of their time in trees and hardly ever touch the ground, so they find food in the treetops. They eat nuts, fruits, bird eggs, and spiders. Black spider monkeys are pretty noisy and have several unique calls, screeches, and barks. Female spider monkeys usually have one baby every 2-5 years. The baby monkeys will be completely dependent on their mothers for the first ten weeks of their lives, but then will begin to venture out on their own. For the first year of young spider monkey’s lives, mothers will care for them, often swinging through the trees with baby spider monkeys on their back.
Black spider monkeys are vulnerable on the endangered species list. The main reason they are endangered is deforestation that leads to habitat loss, and hunting. Black spider monkeys prefer mature and whole forests, so they will hardly ever go into forests that have been desturbed by humans. Humans are destroying so much of the rainforests that the areas where black spider monkeys can safely live is getting smaller and smaller. Because of their understandable avoidance of disturbed forests, deforestation hits black spider monkeys particularly hard. Another reason black spider monkeys are endangered is hunting. Some black spider monkeys are hunted for food. Logging and deforestation of the amazon and other tropical forests is a problem that affects not only black spider monkeys but many other creatures.
The ecosystems in the tropical rainforests of South America have so much fascinating biodiversity. Deforestation and habitat loss threaten that biodiversity and every animal and plant that lives in these wonderful forests. All species contribute to the ecosystem to keep it balanced. Black spider monkeys are a very important part of tropical forest ecosystems. Black spider monkeys have an important role in seed dispersal and help spread out seeds. This helps the forests grow and flourish, which in turn helps black spider monkeys and all the other animals that call the incredible tropical forests their home.
What Can You Do?
The main thing you can do to help black spider monkeys is support organizations that are trying to protect forests so black spider monkeys and other rainforest animals can live in them. The World Wildlife Fund and other organizations are trying to create protected areas where animals and other species can live without the problems of deforestation or hunting. They also make sure that areas that are not protected must responsibly manage the forest, like getting Forest Stewardship Council certification. To help these causes, you can donate to the World Wildlife Fund, the Rainforest Foundation, and Paso Pacifico. Another thing you can do is raise awareness to what is happening to the rainforest.
"Black Spider Monkeys." World Wildlife Fund, www.worldwildlife.org/species/black-spider-monkey. Accessed 24 May 2020.
"Spider Monkeys." National Geographic, National Geographic Society, www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/group/spider-monkeys/. Accessed 24 May 2020.
"Black Spider Monkeys." Animal Planet, www.animalplanet.com/wild-animals/endangered-species/black-spider-monkey/. Accessed 24 May 2020.
*all pictures and videos used with permission, and/or taken from the sites above.