How Many Black Spider Monkeys Are Left In The World 2018?

Spider Monkeys


Spider monkeys live in the tropical rain forests of Central and South America and occur as far north as Mexico.

They have long, lanky arms and prehensile (gripping) tails that enable them to move gracefully from branch to branch and tree to tree. These nimble monkeys spend most of their time aloft, and maintain a powerful grip on branches even though they have no thumbs.

These New World primates are social and gather in groups of up to two- or three-dozen animals. At night, these groups split up into smaller sleeping parties of a half dozen or fewer. Foraging also occurs in smaller groups, and is usually most intense early in the day. Spider monkeys find food in the treetops and feast on nuts, fruits, leaves, bird eggs, and spiders. They can be noisy animals and often communicate with many calls, screeches, barks, and other sounds.


Typically, females give birth to only a single baby every two to five years. Young monkeys depend completely on their mothers for about ten weeks, but after that time they begin to explore on their own and play amongst themselves. Mothers continue to care for their young for the first year of their lives, and often move about with their offspring clinging to their backs.

Threats to Survival

Indigenous peoples often hunt spider monkeys for food, and the animals are usually agitated by human contact. Logging and deforestation continue to shrink the space that spider monkeys are able to call home.

Spider monkeys can let go with their arms and hang by their tail as they play and wrestle with each other high up in the tropical forest canopy. Baby spider monkeys also wrap their tiny tail around their mother’s tail for security as they ride around on her back.

Black Spider Monkey

Scientific Name: Ateles paniscus
Status: Endangered
Average Height: 16-24 inches
Average Weight: 15-19 pounds

This species is also known as the Guiana or red-faced spider monkey. It can be found in eastern South America in areas north of the Amazon River. It is the largest primate species in South America.

Black spider monkeys are often hunted for food and can be aggressive towards humans. The deforestation in the Amazon is also greatly reducing their habitat.

Black-Headed Spider Monkey

The Black-headed spider monkey is native to Central and South America. This primate belongs to the group of New World monkeys. This species is composed of two sup-species, differing in their color pattern: Brown-headed spider monkeys, which exhibit brownish-black overall fur and a brown head; and Colombian spider monkeys that are totally black, displaying only a few white patches on their chin. The Black-headed spider monkeys are excellent climbers and have a strong grip due to lacking a thumb.

Photos with Black-Headed Spider Monkey


The natural range of these animals covers some parts of Central and South America. While the Brown-headed spider monkeys are generally found in Ecuador (and possibly, in Columbia), the Colombian black spider monkeys occupy a territory from south-western Colombia to eastern Panama. Both of these sub-species live in dry forests as well as humid and cloud forests. Populations in Ecuador are most frequently found in wetter forests such as tropical and subtropical humid forests.



Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

The Black-headed spider monkeys are diurnal, mainly arboreal and very social animals. These primates are known to form large fission-fusion groups of 20 — 100 monkeys, composed of multiple males and females. When feeding, these groups split into smaller sub-groups. Spending the majority of their time in trees, they rarely descent to the ground. When travelling among trees, they swing on all of their four legs. When moving along branches, they usually walk in an upright position. These agile animals are excellent leapers, capable of taking long leaps of up to 9 m (30 ft.), when moving between branches. They communicate through vocalizations such as a high-frequency whinny.

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Diet and Nutrition

The Black-headed spider monkeys are herbivores (folivores and frugivores), they primarily feed upon ripe fruits and leaves, supplementing their usual diet with occasional nuts, seeds, insects, and eggs.

Mating Habits

Little is known about the mating behavior of Black-headed spider monkeys. It is known, however, that when mating, females may stay with a male for around three days and may mate with several males. It means that this species may exhibit either polygynandrous (promiscuous) (both males and females breed with multiple mates) or polyandrous (one female mates with several males in a breeding season) mating systems. All spider monkeys are able to breed at any time of the year. Females usually produce offspring at intervals of 3 years. The gestation period lasts between 226 and 232 days, after which a single infant is born. The newborn baby will ride the back of its mother until 16 weeks old. Weaning occurs at 20 months of age. After reaching adolescence, females leave their natal group, whereas males continue living with the group throughout their lives. The age of sexual maturity is 51 months old in females and 56 months old in males.


Population threats

The Black-headed spider monkeys are nowadays threatened by deforestation, which negatively affect the overall population of this species. Although some populations still inhabit partially logged forests, hardly any group can be found in areas, where the rainforest habitat is totally wiped out. Additionally, localized threats include hunting for food.

Population number

The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the Black-headed spider monkeys’ total population. According to the Tropical Conservation Science resource, the total population of the Brown-headed spider monkey subspecies is around 250 individuals in northwestern Ecuador. Overall, Black-headed spider monkeys are classified as Critically Endangered (CR) and their numbers are decreasing.

Black Spider Monkey Facts – Black Spider Monkey Information

Black Spider Monkey is well known for its ability to hang from tree using its tail only. It is due to this unique ability due to which it is called spider monkey. We have gathered complete set of Black Spider Monkey Facts that will provide you all the Black Spider Monkey Information you need. You are going to learn its scientific name, classification, appearance, size, lifespan, diet, food chain, habitat, location, adaptations, reproduction, male, female & baby black spider monkey, predators, endangerement, threats, population and many other Black Spider Monkey Fun Facts.

Black Spider Monkey Facts

Table of Contents

1. What Is A Black Spider Monkey

  • Black spider monkey is a New World monkey and one of the seven species of the genus Ateles (spider monkeys).
  • It is also known as red-faced spider monkey, red-faced black spider monkey, or the Guiana spider monkey.
  • The rainforests of northern South America are the natural habitat range of the black spider monkey.
  • It is one of the largest species of primates found in South America.
  • It is an intelligent, noisy, and social creature.
  • Black spider monkeys are facing the threats of habitat loss and hunting.
  • The species is included in the list of Vulnerable species on the IUCN Red List.

2. Black Spider Monkey Scientific Name

  • The scientific name of the spider monkey is Ateles paniscus .

3. Black Spider Monkey Scientific Classification

  • The following is the scientific classification or taxonomy of the spider monkey:
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Sub-phylum Vertebrata
Class Mammalia
Order Primates
Sub-order Haplorhini
Infra-order Simiiformes
Family Atelidae
Genus Ateles
Species Ateles paniscus

4. What Does A Black Spider Monkey Look Like

  • Black spider monkeys have long, black hair on their bodies except for the face.
  • They have pink or red colored faces with only a few short white hair.
  • They have a small head and long arms relative to their body size.
  • New born babies have dark faces, which become lighter when they grow.
  • They have average head-body length of 22 inches (55.8 cm) and an average body weight of 17 pounds (7.7 kg).
  • Spider monkeys have long, agile, and strong limbs.
  • They have a prehensile tail, which they also used as an extra limb for locomotion.
  • Because of thin and strong limbs and strong, muscular, and prehensile tail, it looks like a spider when walking from tree to tree.

5. How Big Are Black Spider Monkeys – Black Spider Monkey Size

  • The size range of black spider monkeys is from 14 to 26 inches.
  • Male black spider monkeys have an average head to body length of 21.9 inches (55.7 cm) while females have 21.7 inches (55.2 cm).
  • Males have an average body weight of around 20 pounds (9.1 kg) while females have 19 pounds (8.4 kg).
  • They have 23 to 31 inches (60 to 80 cm) long tail.

6. How Long Do Black Spider Monkeys Live – Black Spider Monkey Lifespan

  • The lifespan of black spider monkeys is up to 22 years in the wild.
  • Their recorded oldest lifespan in the wild is 37.8 years.
  • In captivity, they usually live for up to 33 years.
  • They are known to live as long as 46 years in captivity.
See also:  What Is The Scientific Name Of A Spider?

7. What Do Black Spider Monkeys Eat – Black Spider Monkey Diet

  • Black spider monkeys are omnivores in nature.
  • They eat a wide variety of fruits as 90% part of their diet.
  • They eat the soft and mature parts of the fruits and usually swallow the seeds.
  • When fruits are not abundantly available, they also eat flowers, young leaves, aerial roots, nuts, honey, and occasionally decaying wood and tree breaks.
  • Birds eggs, insects, spiders, and insect larvae also make a small composition of their diet.
  • In captivity, they are fed with bananas, apples, oranges, raisins, carrots, celery, lettuce, wheat bread, monkey chow, and dog chow.

8. Black Spider Monkey Food Chain

  • The following is the simplest food chain of black spider monkey:


  • Plants are the producers in the food chain of black spider monkeys. All green plants get energy from the sun and prepare its food itself.

Primary consumers

  • Black spider monkeys are the primary consumer. They consume fruits, green leaves, flowers, and tree barks.

Secondary consumers

  • Predators of the black spider monkey like cougar, jaguar, ocelot, raptors, and large snakes are the secondary consumers in this food chain.
  • Humans also prey black spider monkeys for food.


  • When predators of the black spider monkeys die (as most of them are apex predators and have no natural predators), bacteria and fungi decompose their dead bodies and convert them into humus.

9. Where Do Black Spider Monkeys Live – Black Spider Monkey Habitat

  • Black spider monkeys are found in the eastern South America (north regions of the Amazon River) and Central America.
  • Their habitat range covers regions in northern Brazil, Suriname, Venezuela, Guyana, and French Guiana.
  • They inhabit healthy tropical rainforests, where they are found in the upper layers of the trees.

10. Black Spider Monkey Location

  • The location of black spider monkeys are the tropical rainforests of the eastern South and Central America.
  • They are arboreal in nature and live in upper layers of the rainforests trees.
  • They forage in the high canopy layer of the forests and prefer to live in the healthy and undisturbed forests.

11. Black Spider Monkey Adaptations

  • The overall body structure of black spider monkeys is well adapted for arboreal life. The following are the major adaptations:

Skull structure

  • The skull of black spider monkeys have a small and round structure, in which the eyes are positioned in the forward direction. It allows them to correctly gauge distances when they are swinging from one tree to another.

Thin and long arms

  • Black spider monkeys have thin, long, and strong arms, which are well adapted for climbing and swinging. They have no thumbs due to which they can strongly grip the tree branches and climbs easily.

Prehensile tail

  • Black spider monkeys have a long, muscular, and prehensile tail with no hairs on the underside. It has a greater length than their whole body length. Their tail is well adapted for holding or grasping. They are capable of hanging down from a tree or branch only with their tail. Such a tail allows them an easy and fast movement between trees and branches.

Social behavior

  • Black spider monkeys are extremely social and live in medium-sized groups. A large group has up to 30 individuals. The groups have several females, their youngs, and few males. Blake spider monkeys also sleep at night like most other primates. Usually their groups split up into small parties at night. They also forage in groups and communicate through various types of voices.

12. Black Spider Monkey Reproduction

  • Black spider monkeys are placental mammals and the females give birth to completely developed youngsters.
  • Female black spider monkeys reproduce every two to five years.
  • During the breeding season, the mates attract each other through vocals and other behaviors.
  • After mating, the females become pregnant and their gestation period lasts for 226 to 232 days.
  • A single baby is born who completely depends on its mother for food and protection.
  • Mother feeds the baby with her own milk and rides it on her back when she is foraging or walking.
  • The baby is weaned at the age of about two years, however, it stays near its mother for 4 to 5 years until it attains sexual maturity.

13. Male Black Spider Monkey

  • Male black spider monkeys have an average body size of 21.9 inches (55.7 cm).
  • They have a body weight of about 20 pounds (9.1 kg).
  • Males and females eat the same diet and often live in large groups called bands.
  • Males do not take part in raising the younger ones.

14. Female Black Spider Monkey

  • Female black spider monkeys have an average body size of 21.7 inches (55.2 cm).
  • They have a body weight of about 19 pounds (8.4 kg).
  • Both males and females have the same habitat range and diet.
  • Both sexes have only a small variation in size and appearance (sexual dimorphism).
  • Females have a total responsibility of raising babies.

15. Baby Black Spider Monkey

  • A baby black spider monkey born after a gestation period of 7 to 8 months.
  • It completely depends on its mother for food, transport, and protection.
  • A baby black spider monkey completely relies on its mother for around 10 weeks of its life, after which it starts to explore on its own and plays with its age fellows.
  • Baby feeds with the mother’s milk for 20 to 24 months.
  • It clings on the mother’s back when she is walking or foraging.
  • A baby wraps its tail arounds its mother’s tail for security when riding on the mother’s back.
  • Male baby black spider monkeys sexually mature at the age of around 56 months while females at the age of 51 months.
See also:  When Do Spider Eggs Hatch?

16. Black Spider Monkey Predators

  • Major predators of the black spider monkeys are:
    • Cougars
    • Jaguars
    • Pumas
    • Ocelots
    • Margay
    • Raptors
    • Large snakes
    • Human beings also capture black spider monkeys for pet trade while native people of their habitat also hunt them for food.

17. Why Are Black Spider Monkey Endangered – Black Spider Monkey Endangered

  • Black spider monkey is not an endangered species. It is included in the list of ‘Vulnerable’ species on the IUCN Red List.
  • Loss of habitat is currently posing a greatest challenge to its survival.

18. Black Spider Monkey Threats

  • There are many threats to the survival of the black spider monkeys. The primary ones are:

Loss of habitat

  • Black spider monkeys continuously lose their habitat.
  • Logging of long trees and deforestation for farming lands are the main factors of their habitat destruction.
  • Deforestation greatly influences black spider monkeys as they live in the canopy region of long trees and also do not like to live in disturbed forests.
  • In the past 45 years, their population is estimated to have decreased by 30% due to habitat loss and hunting.


  • Native people of the region hunt black spider monkeys for food because of their large size, which provides a large amount of food.
  • For native people, it is easy to locate black spider monkeys because of their noisy nature and traveling in large groups.
  • They are also caught for pet trade.
  • Diseases, predators, and climate change are other threats to their survival.

19. How Many Black Spider Monkeys Are Left In The World – Black Spider Monkey Population

  • It is unknown how many black spider monkeys are left in the world.
  • However, it is included in the ‘Vulnerable’ species on the IUCN Red List, which means its population is declining.
  • It is estimated that their population has declined by 30% in the course of 45 years.
  • The species of black spider monkey is protected in many regions across its range.
  • In the Amazon, it is protected under the Amazon Animal Protection Act of 1973.

Black Spider Monkey Population 2018

  • The 2018 population of black spider monkeys is unknown.

Black Spider Monkey Population 2019

  • It is unknown what was the population of black spider monkeys in 2019.

20. Black Spider Monkey Fun Facts – Black Spider Monkey Interesting Facts

  • In the animal kingdom, spider monkeys (including the black spider monkeys) have the strongest and most prehensile tail.
  • Black spider monkey got its name due to its ability to hang solely with its tail just like a spider hanging through its silk. Also, when a black spider monkey moves from tree to tree and uses its tail as an extra limb, it looks like a spider.
  • Black spider monkeys and its other primate relatives are an important part of the South American rainforest ecosystem. Their droppings have undigested seeds which disperse when they travel. So they play a vital role in the replenishing and sprouting of the vegetations in the rainforest.
  • Black spider monkeys do not like to live in the disturbed forests, and so their presence and thriving in a forest indicates the overall health of that forest.
  • Black spider monkeys are excellent climbers and skilled in brachiating technique (move from branch to branch by swinging through the arms). Their recorded highest leap from branch to branch (or tree to tree) is about 30 feet (9 meters).
  • They make different types of sounds to communicate. When they feel threatened, they scream or make sobbing sounds or even barks to make the group members alert or call them for help.
  • Black spider monkeys are social and live in groups called troops. A troop size depends on the food availability; the more abundant the food, the larger the troop size.
  • Males members are dominant in a troop of black spider monkeys. However, they are the females who decide where to forage and what will be a troop size. We can say that spider monkeys are semi-matriarchal.

21. Black Spider Monkey Facts Video

  • Black Spider Monkey
  • Monkeys
  • Spider Monkey


Murad Ali Khan is a researcher, writer & editor, who believes in generating quality content. He leads an awesome team of high school students, teachers & IT graduates who helps him in creating & maintaining educational Websites & Apps.
When not tinkering on the web, Murad enjoys going on hikes, read Latest Science News, plays tennis & hangs out with his friends.

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