90

Variegated Spider Monkey

South America

90

Ateles hybridus

Endangered

  • Its breeding and feeding grounds within its forest habitat are few and far between already, which makes population growth a challenge.
  • They are also heavily hunted and used for pet trade.
  • The surrounding areas are being converted into human settlements, agricultural lands, and other man-made developments.

The Variegated Spider Monkey, considered as a type of New World monkey, is a Neo-tropical primate species that is twice included in the list of the ‘World’s 25 Most Endangered Primates’. It spends most of its life up on evergreen trees in high-elevated undisturbed primary forests of Colombia and Venezuela, feeding on fruits, bird’s eggs, and other resources available. An occasional visit to the forest ground happens when it is thirsty or has to eat soil and clay which is believed to help with proper digestion.

Adults are almost similar in size, weighing between 7.5 and 9 kg, and can grow up to 50 cm or 20 in height. Its brown body colour is contrasted by a white forehead patch and sometimes pale blue eyes for some individuals. Its slightly curved hands with small thumbs as well as long and thin limbs allow it to climb effortlessly from tree to tree. Even its 75-cm flexible tail with hairless grooved tip acts as its fifth limb for this specific purpose.